Constipated hurling to two-trick ponies: 10 most controversial moments on The Sunday Game

The Sunday Game returns tonight and it has provided us with its fair share of memorable moments over the years.

THE SUNDAY GAME is ingrained in the public consciousness and sets the agenda like no other sports show in this country.

RTÉ’s flagship GAA programme has been on the air since 1979 and makes its return to our screens tonight. Over the years it has provided plenty of memorable moments that set the nation’s tongues wagging.

Michael Lyster welcomes new signings Donal Óg Cusack and Eamonn O’Hara to The Sunday Game

In no particular order, we’ve picked out the 10 most controversial Sunday Game moments over the years. It includes a few thrown-in from The Saturday Game for good measure.


10. Donal Og Cusack on Cork’s ‘centre of mediocrity’

Following Cork’s comprehensive 10-point defeat to Tipperary in the 2014 All-Ireland hurling semi-final, Cusack launched a scathing attack on the county board.

The former goalkeeper didn’t hold back when criticizing Cork’s development of a centre of excellence, while he also questioned the county’s underage structures.

Source: RTÉ Sport/YouTube

9. Tomas Ó Sé: ‘It’s called football, Des’

Back in 2014 Kerry booked their spot in the All-Ireland final with a replay win over Mayo.

The Kingdom’s display of kick-passing had the public drooling and Tomas Ó Sé broke down their football philosophy into very simple terms for presenter Des Cahill.

Source: RTÉ Sport/YouTube

8. Martin McHugh calls Colm Cooper a ‘two-trick pony’

Former Donegal Allstar Martin McHugh caused uproar when he described Colm Cooper as a “two-trick pony” and claimed his teammate James O’Donoghue was a far superior player.

“I just want to make a point here: he’s a better player than Cooper, he’s one of the greatest I’ve ever seen. In my opinion, Cooper’s a two-trick pony I just really believe that… I’m just making a point what I feel about him personally having watched him, studied him,” said McHugh.

Dermot Earley and Kevin McStay, who joined him on the panel, quickly leapt to Cooper’s defence.

Source: JoeHarrington/YouTube

7. Eamonn O’Hara lays into Kevin Walsh

Sligo’s former Allstar Eamonn O’Hara called for Kevin Walsh’s resignation in 2013 following the county’s shock defeat to London in the Connacht SFC.

O’Hara criticised the standard of training, tactics and the selection policy employed by the Sligo manager.

“I think he will (resign) and I think he should do the county board a favour,” he said.

O’Hara, then 37, announced his retirement earlier that month after Walsh left him out of Sligo’s championship panel.


6. Joe Brolly questions Sean Cavanagh’s manliness

This one tops the lot.

Joe Brolly launched a tirade against Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh for a rugby tackle that brought down Conor McManus when he was through on goal late on in the 2013 All-Ireland quarter-final.

Cavanagh only shipped a yellow for the tackle, and Brolly went over the top in a highly personalised attack.

Brolly later revealed he called Cavanagh to apologise for his remarks. The black-card was introduced the following season.


5. Pat Spillane insults both Donegal and Muslims

As Jim McGuinness’s radical tactical ideas started to turn Donegal into serious All-Ireland contenders in 2011, not everybody was pleased about it.

Kerry legend Pat Spillane wasn’t impressed after Dublin’s narrow All-Ireland semi-final over Donegal in an incredibly low-scoring game.

Even Joe Brolly felt he strayed off the point.

Source: eireforce/YouTube

4. Ger Loughnane on Dublin’s ‘pure constipated hurling’

Anthony Daly’s Dublin laboured to a draw against Wexford in their Leinster championship opener in 2014 and he came in for criticism from his former manager after the game.

Ger Loughnane described Dublin’s performance as “pure constipated hurling.”

The laxative did the trick for the Dubs. They defeated Wexford in the replay and enjoyed wins over Kilkenny and Galway on the way to the Leinster title.


3. Joe Brolly calls Marty Morrissey ‘ugly’

Joe Brolly features yet again.

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Brolly ruffled more feathers when he made an ill-advised jibe comparing Cavan’s style of football to Marty Morrissey’s appearance last year.

“I’ve referred to Cavan in recent years as the Black Death because the football has been as some people have said, as ugly as Marty Morrissey,” he said.

Brolly later apologised on air for his remarks.

Source: Liam O Regan/YouTube

2. Joe Brolly labels Colm Cooper as ‘a choker’

Ahead of Kerry’s All-Ireland qualifier clash with Tyrone in 2012, Brolly labelled Colm Cooper “a choker” in his Derry Journal column.

He later defended his criticism of Cooper on The Sunday Game, but rejected suggestions he called Cooper a choker.

“I didn’t say Cooper was a choker,” Brolly said.

“What I said was had a stranger wandered into the All-Ireland club semi-final between Cross and Crokes and saw him, they would say he was a choker.”


1. Pat Spillane finds a cure for insomnia

A low-scoring first-half of the Connacht SFC semi-final between Mayo and Roscommon incensed Pat Spillane in 2014.

Mayo led by 0-4 to 0-3 at the break, and Spillane didn’t hold back when he gave his take on the first-half.

Excitement levels lifted somewhat after the interval and Mayo secured a one-point win.

Honourable mentions: Colm O’Rourke says cynicism follows Tyrone around “like a bad smell,” Joe Brolly calls Michael Murphy “the most influential player in Gaelic football,” Shane Curran says the GAA might go the way of the “Church and Fianna Fail,” Kieran Donaghy sticks it to Joe Brolly after All-Ireland final win.

Did we miss any controversial moments from The Sunday Game over the years? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Kevin O'Brien

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