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GAA president McCarthy hits out at 'down-right cowardly' criticism of players

His comments come days after Mayo GAA condemned ‘personal attacks’ on their players and management.

Larry McCarthy.
Larry McCarthy.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

GAA PRESIDENT LARRY McCarthy has condemned some of the criticism aimed at players. 

His comments come in the wake of a Mayo GAA statement hitting out at “personal attacks” on James Horan and his players after their latest All-Ireland final defeat. 

The Association president has now accentuated the same issue, in remarks published on the GAA website. 

“Words matter, what one says matters, what one puts in the public domain matters,” said McCarthy, addressing “commentators and social media posters.” 

“This was a point I made at Congress in February 2021 in the context of what [American presenter and commentator] Bob Costas calls a corrosive assault on civility. That corrosive assault has been perpetuated recently by members of the ‘critics collective’ and by many people who term themselves supporters in their reaction to the All-Ireland football final.  

“The criticism emanating from these people has been overly harsh, unfair and in some cases down-right cowardly. It has gone well beyond fair analysis of team performance. Critical evaluation of match performance is fine, and expected, but overly harsh scrutiny of amateur players is unjustifiable. It is inexcusable when it moves beyond the realm of what happens on the field.

“It beggars belief that people who consider themselves supporters of a team would castigate members of that team, the management and the County Committee in a crude and, in some cases, personal fashion. Nobody sets out to play badly, nobody sets out to lose an All-Ireland, but it happens. 

“Supporters, who are members of GAA clubs, who attend club games, and who know the commitment and sacrifice the players make, understand this. Unfortunately, it is a point that seems to have escaped far too many people in the last week. 

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“Stop unwarranted critiques of GAA members. Stop this corrosive assault on civility. Perspective is needed when commenting on games and sport in general – not least when players are amateurs. None of us know the long-lasting impact of this type of harsh criticism on amateur players and we need to be mindful of the positive mental health of others.”

- Originally published at 13.34 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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