Belfast Telegraph

Pundits should do their jobs, not try to be the news

By Declan Bogue

We never had Kieran McGeeney down as a Shakespeare student, but there he was last Monday, talking about commentary of Gaelic games, asking: "Isn't it a game within a game?"

He may or may not have been channelling MacBeth, but the line was uncannily familiar to the 'Play within a play' line that is used by the chief protagonist.

What had stoked the Armagh manager's ire was the reverence currently granted to past players of the game who are adept at setting the agenda when it comes to the ongoing conversations surrounding Gaelic games.

Mercifully sparing the journalists present from his condemnation, McGeeney said: "This is your career. There are other people who are doing it for headlines and it's not their career.

"Even the way they are advertised, they say 'I call it as it is' when the opposite is true. They never call it as it is."

He added: "I think if you're looking to see the game, most columnists sensationalise the game and it's always past players.

"The worst critics of our game are ourselves. It's the same in Ulster, too. Most people who are against Ulster football are in the Ulster press."

He has a magnificent point, one that is unfortunately lost most of the time - that there are none so critical as that of your own.

In recent weeks there have been suggestions that players and managers are all engaged in some great fraudulent scandal to make everything as dull and joyless as possible.

Speaking as someone who is in constant contact with many players in press conferences, one-to-one interviews and post-match chats, I fail to identify with that.

In fact, the only thing that is truly joyless is the stampede by some pundits to attempt to make themselves indispensable when it comes down to filling out the seats on The Sunday Game.

Belfast Telegraph


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