GAA Football

Joe Brolly a 'loss to punditry' says former RTE colleague Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke (right) and Joe Brolly watch the action while on duty with RTE
Andy Watters

RTE pundit Colm O’Rourke has said his former colleague Joe Brolly is “a loss to punditry” and hopes the Dungiven native will return to the TV studio next season.

Meath All-Ireland winner O’Rourke was inducted into the GAA’s Hall of Fame at Croke Park yesterday and afterwards he took time out to reflect on the controversial axing of Brolly, his colleague at RTE for over a decade.

“I think he’s a loss to punditry,” said O’Rourke.

“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 in 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 as 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 fly-by-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.”

Brolly and O’Rourke have disagreed in discussions before, during and after Championship matches but when asked if RTE’s door had been permanently closed on the former Derry forward, Skyrne clubman O’Rourke said he hoped not.

“I don’t know what has happened there,” he said.

“I’m not privy to what has taken place but hopefully he’ll be back next year.”

O’Rourke, who began working for ‘The Sunday Game’ in 1991, expects to be discussing many more All-Ireland wins for Dublin in the future. The Dubs completed an historic five in-a-row last Saturday and O’Rourke predicts that their run will continue “indefinitely” unless radical action is taken by the GAA.

“It’s not going to stop,” he said.

“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.

“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.”

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