Now I want to begin by making something abundantly clear-as a footballer I loved Pat Spillane (in the way that a man loves a footballer I hasten to add); for God knows that man is crazy… and God love the woman or man that would have to live with that complete nutter! He brings a bad name to all that is good about our national game. As I said, Spillane was an exceptional Gaelic footballer and has to rank amongst the best players ever to grace a GAA field anywhere at any level. As a player he had it all. I remember at one particular stage watching him line out for Kerry against Armagh in a national league game in Lurgan many years ago. I saw him up close and personal and even in the depth of winter with rolls of fat from over celebrating success any one could see that he was a rare and exceptional talent. Eulogy ended.

Roll on 2003 and a team which another delusional Kerry man called the nouveau riche of the GAA, aka Tyrone, rolled Kerry in an All-Ireland football semifinal and Spillane described it as puke football. As an aside Tyrone progressed to win their first All-Ireland football final in the history of the GAA. Now other than a Derry man who’d begrudge them that success other than the two dishonorable mentions from Kerry!!

In 2005 and 2008 Tyrone went on to wallop Kerry on the biggest stage of all in late September. Curtain call more vitriol, pomposity and venom from that gamer-loo Spillane.

This year RTE had the good sense to remove him from the anchor role on the Sunday game and decided to make him the heel-end of a sandwich of  which poor Meath hero and post-playing days gentleman Colm O’Rourke was the meat between him and the eloquent and ever so slightly provocative Joe Brolly. Even though he is a Derry man I must give credit to Joe for not rising to the bait of a fountain of utter anti-Tyrone, anti-Ulster venom spewed by an apoplectic Spillane on Sunday past when Tyrone were fairly and squarely beaten by a fitter, hungrier Cork team who simply wanted to win more. No excuses from or for Tyrone. No vitriol from the northen media. Kind and honest words and analysis from both O’Rourke and Brolly but pure and unadulterated venom from Spillane which brought shame on himself, on the entire Kerry GAA community and on our national broadcaster.

I will remind you of the facts:

1. At half-time he accused Tyrone of cheating.
2. He was profane.
3. He attacked the integrity of an entire County who have played the best football witnessed in the last 30 years.
4. He attacked the quality and personal integrity of individual players.

What did he forget?

1. Tyrone beat Kerry in an All_Ireland semifinal in 2003 playing what he described as puke football.
2. Any team can have an off day-sure didn’t Kerry have two against Cork and Dublin had one against Kerry.
3. A poorly taken penalty by Sligo against a team allegedly containing “the best individual footballers in Ireland” means that our crazy pundit, a la Spillane, thinks that Kerry are some sort of superhuman outfit.

The eejit hadn’t the grace or humility to recognise that maybe Tyrone had an off day or that maybe Cork were simply superior.

The irony of all of this is that Spillane masked it all up as a Valentine’s message to Cork. Now Cork people are not stupid irrespective of how happy they were at 5pm on Sunday last…Spillane needs to catch himself on. Tyrone are a great team and Spillane needs to embrace that and to build a bridge as strong as the recently collapsed viaduct at Malahide and attempt to get over it…hopefully packing that humongous anti-Ulster chip on his hopefully ashamed and embarrassed Kerry shoulders!!

The media, the networks, the bars, the workplaces are united in utter condemnation of this man, of this fine former Kerry footballer, this embarrassment, this blot on the face of all that is good about County Kerry, on all that is good about Ireland and on all that is good about the GAA.

I remember last September as I stood on the grass of Croke Park watching Brian Dooher lift Sam for one singular reason: I was surrounded with Kerry folk who came onto the field to applaud Tyrone. Yes they were crest fallen, yes they were hurting and yes they knew that they would come back as all great teams do; but above all else they were gracious in defeat. As we’d say in quantitative research-old Spillane is the statistical outlier, the Popperian black swan.

Grásta ó Dhia ar Phat bocht!

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