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Joe Brolly 'stands by every word' of criticism of Gooch's testimonial dinner

Colm Cooper said that the pundit had apologised for his comments on The Late Late Show last night, but Brolly wrote otherwise on Twitter.

COLM COOPER’S UPCOMING testimonial dinner has divided opinion in GAA circles over the past few weeks. And the conversation looks set to keep going.

jb Colm Cooper and Joe Brolly.

The first of its kind to be held in honour of a GAA player, the corporate-sponsored dinner will take place in Ballsbridge on 27 October with two charities – Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin and Kerry Cancer Support Group – set to benefit.

The five time senior All-Ireland winner was on The Late Late Show last night, and defended his decision to host the testimonial dinner. He also revealed that Kerry GAA and his club Dr Crokes will be given a portion of the proceeds from the night.

Joe Brolly has been highly critical of the event, describing it as ‘cheap and self-serving’ and that it went against the amateur ethos of the GAA.

He wrote in his Sunday Independent column: “It is a great pity Colm has done this. The point of the GAA is supposed to be volunteerism and community activism. The question is supposed to be, ‘What can I do?’, not ‘What can I get out of it?’

“As an icon of Irish sport, he could have set an example of altruism, but instead has chosen to enrich himself. What could and should have been a night the GAA could have taken great pride in, has instead become something cheap and self-serving.”

Source: The Late Late Show/YouTube

On last night’s programme, and on the same week that he launched his autobiography, Cooper said that Brolly had ‘changed his tune’ since that criticism.

“Sure look, we all know that Joe Brolly’s the greatest player ever so how can we challenge him on that,” he smiled, to claps from the audience.

“On a serious note, Joe actually sent me a text this week to say sorry about all the fuss,” he said. “[He said] he wishes there wasn’t the reaction that there was and that it’s gone overboard. And he’s apologising for it.

“So, he’s obviously changed his tune since. And he fully respects that I’m entitled to have a testimonial night if I want. There’s players doing dinner dances and speaking after events. There’s brand ambassadors, there’s players doing launches all the time. So, unfortunately for the GAA, there are players earning money. So, if that’s the argument, I don’t really get it.”

Brolly defended his position on Twitter afterwards however, saying that he never apologised and that he stands by ‘every word’.

“I didn’t apologise to Colm for anything I said,” he wrote. “I stand by every word. I said I didn’t intend him to be demonised as a result.

“This is a serious principled debate. I said face to face to Colm he was wrong in doing this. I stand by that absolutely.”

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‘It was very emotional, but delighted that I was able to share the moment with him’

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Emma Duffy

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