GAA Football

Tyrone official proposes charging GAA pundits with bringing game into disrepute

The media scrutiny of major GAA games has soared in recent years  
Francis Mooney

HIGH-PROFILE GAA pundits could be charged with bringing the game into disrepute if a prominent Tyrone official gets his way.

Former players who have made a "cottage industry" out of taking on punditry roles on TV and writing analytical and opinion pieces for nespapers have provoked the ire of PRO Eunan Lindsay.

He has suggested pundits should face a similar range of sanctions to managers and players who get themselves into hot water with GAA officialdom over post-match comments.

In his report to annual convention, Lindsay calls on Croke Park to take on the issue of analysts making offensive personal comments on various media platforms.

“The cottage industry that has developed around punditry by former players and managers on TV and in newspapers is one which must be looked at closely by the GAA centrally,” he says.

“While players and management have been charged with bringing the association into disrepute arising from comments after a match or on social media, punditry is unregulated, can be much more cutting and appears to be without the risk of sanction by the association, regardless of the personal nature of the comments.”

Lindsay accepts criticism is warranted at times, but says it must be applied in a fair and balanced manner: “If criticism is warranted, then we must take it on the chin and, by and large, most working journalists will be fair or, at the very least, measured in their criticism.”

The Tyrone PRO did praise local media within the county for their coverage of GAA affairs however: “We continue to be fortunate to have a number of excellent journalists covering all aspects of Tyrone GAA, at both the local and national arena.

“The continued level of coverage they give to our games and activities is second to none. There are a huge amount of positive initiatives going on in the county throughout the year and these generate plenty of good PR for us.”

The online presence of the GAA continues to increase and Lindsay is keen to exploit all the opportunities offered by the internet: “The Tyrone GAA presence continues to increase online in particular with our Facebook and Twitter accounts and with our recent addition to Instagram it continues to grow daily.

“While the website continues to remain popular for fixtures and results, podcasts and team news, some parts have become stale and obsolete so we intend taking a look at the entire website over the winter months and looking to see what additional content can be added and/or removed.”

Meanwhile, Mattie Lennon is set to make a dramatic return to Tyrone hurling, after stepping down as manager a year ago. Lennon is expected to be reappointed as senior county boss at the next meeting of the county committee, following talks with officials.

He enjoyed a successful two-year spell with the Red Hands in 2014-15, guiding the county to a first ever Nicky Rackard Cup title and securing successive league promotions.

Since the Armagh man’s departure, the game has endured a chaotic time within the county, with three managers and a temporary boss having come and gone in the space of just over a year.

Antrim man Dominic Kearns stepped down after just a few weeks in the job early last yer, with Waterford man and former Antrim manager Kevin Ryan appointed at short notice.

He too stepped away before the end of the season, but said he had achieved his objectives in helping Tyrine retain their NHL Division 3A and Nicky Rackard Cup status. Following his departure, long-serving player and assistant manager John Devlin took over on a temporary basis.

News of the impending return of Lennon, a popular figure during his time in Tyrone, is likely to be welcomed by the players. Lennon previously led his native Armagh from 2006 to '08 and was in charge of the Monaghan team that reached the NHL Division 3A final in 2012.

He has also managed the Armagh U21 football team and played hurling at all levels for Armagh and his club, Derrynoose.

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