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'I think he's a loss to punditry and of course at times he can drive me as mad as anybody else'

Colm O’Rourke on the non-involvement of his fellow pundit Joe Brolly on RTÉ last weekend.

Colm O'Rourke with fellow RTÉ pundit Joe Brolly (file hoto).
Colm O'Rourke with fellow RTÉ pundit Joe Brolly (file hoto).
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

COLM O’ROURKE HOPES that fellow pundit Joe Brolly will be back involved with RTÉ in 2020 and believes he is ‘a loss to punditry’.

Brolly was not involved in the station’s coverage for the weekend’s All-Ireland final replay with Stephen Rochford replacing him on the TV panel.

O’Rourke was part of the night-time analysis on The Saturday Game and while he is unsure about Brolly’s future involvement with RTÉ.

“I don’t know what has happened there, I’m not privy to what has taken place but hopefully he’ll be back next year. I certainly would be more careful now than I would have been in the past. We live in a much more politically correct world. Joe would be the exception to that, I suppose. I think he’s a loss to punditry.

“And of course at times he can drive me as mad as anybody else, but I think the last thing you need is blandness in commentary. Now Joe, he’s eccentric, he says things, but I think he has done the GAA a lot of service in so far as his opinions on the game are often discussed afterwards and maybe in the days that follow.

“People will always say they agree or disagree, they don’t ignore him. And I think you always need people like that. Obviously there are limits to what people can say but I think if you take the whole lot on the round he is an addition to the whole analysis of the games.

“The other thing about it is, he has a deep love and passion for the game. He’s not just a commentator. He’s involved with his own club, he’s been involved at underage, he thinks about the game, he’s very aware of its tradition and culture and amateur ethos and things like that. he’s not a flyby night who just comes along and makes comment on the game. He’s one of the sort of working ants of the GAA at local level.”

In the wake of Saturday’s All-Ireland triumph, O’Rourke remains convinced that Dublin’s dominance is not about to halt.

“The best part of the team is nearly the youngest part now when you look at Brian Fenton, Brian Howard, Jack McCaffrey, Con O’Callaghan, Paul Mannion, Ciaran Kilkenny – like those fellas are not going anywhere. The six really best players at this stage are their main driving force and are at their peak years – 24, 25, 26. And they love playing.

“So I think it’s curtain for a lot of teams for a while yet because I don’t see them dis-improving. I think it’s not going to stop. I think they’ll do six in-a-row next year because they are supremely motivated. People say ‘sure they’ll get fed up of winning’ but there’s no sign of that.

“I would know quite a few of them very well and I’m amazed by the motivation. If there was another game next Sunday they’d just love to play, I think they have that love of the game.

“They are great role models, they are modest and they have a degree of humility about them which comes from Jim Gavin and Stephen Cluxton. They are a sort of model team who could keep on going indefinitely.”

The former Meath All-Ireland winner, who was inducted into the GAA’s Hall of Fame yesterday in Croke Park, believes the topic of splitting Dublin needs to be revisited.

gaa-museum-hall-of-fame-2019 Colm O'Rourke was inducted into the GAA's Hall of Fame yesterday along with former footballers Denis 'Ogie' Moran and Larry Tompkins. Source: David Fitzgerald/SPORTSFILE

“I think the future of Dublin has to be what I have been saying for a long time – there is going to have to be a division.

“If somebody said to me that in another 20 or 30 years you’re still going to have one team in Dublin with the massive population shifts that we are going to have in that time, I would say that wouldn’t be in the best interests of the GAA.

“People talk about funding, I don’t think Dublin are over-funded, in fact I think they’re under-funded because the funding goes to the development of clubs and that’s the most important thing of all.

“All of these coaching officers are doing a fantastic job in encouraging young people in primary schools to play Gaelic Games and for me it’s a phenomenal success and it’s something that should be continued.

“That is not something that should be touched, it’s improving the calibre of clubs and the numbers that are talking part in our games and that is all to be complimented. The result of that in a lot of cases is that a lot of Dublin clubs are too big and there probably needs to be more clubs. At some stage the division of Dublin needs to be seriously examined.”

Former Ireland performance analyst and current coaching wizard of OZ Eoin Toolan joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to predict Ireland’s World Cup, break down every pool, and call the overall winners.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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