GAA Football

Joe Brolly talks of his regret at Marty Morrissey comments

Joe Brolly (above) claimed Cavan football was as ugly as Marty Morrissey (below)

IT’S fair to say that Joe Brolly enjoys the limelight. And the All-Ireland winning barrister is frequently good value for it. He is rarely without an eloquent turn of phrase or a humorous anecdote to drive home any argument he wants to make.

There is one headline grabbing remark the former The Sunday Game pundit regrets, however. In 2015, prior to an Ulster SFC clash between Cavan and Monaghan, Brolly said that the football played by the Breffni county was "as ugly as Marty Morrissey".

The comments about the RTÉ Sport commentator caused uproar at the time and, in an interview to be broadcast tomorrow night, Brolly speaks of his regret at making them.

“I made some mistakes,” the Dungiven native said of his time in a TV hotseat on Virgin Media's Sport Stories.

"I made a very hurtful comment about Marty Morrissey once, which I've always regretted. I went to Marty personally, and apologised for it. Marty always says that I turned him into a sex symbol with that comment.

"That was a very good lesson for me. I'd just given the kidney [to my friend Shane Finnegan], and all of a sudden, I was a national saint. I think around that time I started to get a bit carried away with myself, even though I was thinking, 'Don't get carried away with yourself'. I was being treated almost like a saintly figure in the aftermath of that.

"It was something that I really regretted. I shouldn't have said it. It was off the cuff and it was cruel. I made up with Marty. He's a great fella, great fun. My greatest regret is turning Marty Morrissey into a sex symbol."

Read More: Joe Brolly: 'I don't see myself as a big deal any more'

Joe Brolly: 'The DUP needs to be called out'

Brolly left The Sunday Game in 2019 and admits he still misses the opportunities which a national platform gave him to lead debate around the issues of the day in Gaelic games.

“I got so used to the public conversation and then you forget that there are a million people watching and later on that day or the next morning, it’s being debated on the radio and you’re getting texts flooding in and people are talking about it,” he added.

“And I do miss that being effortlessly part of the national conversation. There was a lot of fun in that as well. I recall after the time I went after Tyrone for the cynical fouling – the day that Sean Cavanagh dragged down Conor McManus – and I didn’t realise there was going to be such an enormous fuss over this.

“Then the next day it was on all the chat shows, all the radio shows, David Hickey texted me to say that he’d been in a pub in Kerry and that after I’d finished there was a standing ovation. The next day a Garda van pulled up and about 20 Guards got out and got selfies. I have to say I loved all that, it was great fun.”

Brolly also opened up on the manner of his leaving RTÉ and the hurt is caused him at the time: "What happened ultimately was a new head of sport came in who had a very prescriptive view of how it ought to be done and very quickly I was made to feel uncomfortable.

“The previous heads of sports, we have a great relationship and still keep in contact. I suppose some people are just allergic to other people. And I think he was allergic to me. I think it was a sense of 'this is only going one way'.

"It was very disappointing to me and very hurtful to me as well. I was shocked. I mean, I was shocked."

Part one of Sport Stories: Joe Brolly will be broadcast on Virgin Media One at 8pm tonight.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

GAA Football