Joe Brolly and Eamon Dunphy are two of the most outspoken pundits in their respective codes and no strangers to the controversy their views often ignite.
In saying this, when the pair launched an attack on the achievements of former boxer Barry McGuigan of the 1980’s, viewers would have been taken back based on the platform on which they shared their views.
Ireland’s Greatest Sporting Moment was a show created by RTÉ with the intention of celebrating the finest sporting milestones in our nation’s history.
Disregarding that notion completely, when Brolly and Dunphy were paired together on the show to analyse and commentate on some of the moments chosen as candidates for the greatest moment in Irish sporting history, it was the opposite of celebration but somewhat typical, confrontational criticism which ensued.
Dunphy stated his belief that McGuigan’s world title win in 1985 over Eusebio Pedroza should not be considered a great sporting moment and certainly not shortlisted To be the top moment in Irish sport of the 1980’s. The Dubliner expressed his belief that the work of McGuigan’s manager in finding a world title fight with an opponent who was “over the hill” was the true achievement, with which Brolly totally agreed.
Brolly also shared his thoughts that the idea the legendary Monaghan boxer united the nation in such difficult times, both North and South, during his hay day was nonsense, simply “showbiz”.
Well, on the following episode of the series, presenter Des Cahil opened the show with this apology:
“In our first programme on the 80s, we featured Barry McGuigan’s wonderful achievement in becoming world champion.
“Now the conversations that followed were robust and they strayed somewhat from the great moment that we set out to mark.
“For that we would like to apologise to Barry and his legion of supporters. It wasn’t in the spirit of what the programme was designed to do and lots of you let us know your feelings. We’re happy to recognise that.”
As a guest on Dunphy’s podcast, ‘The Stand’, this week, Brolly let loose on the suggestion there was any sincerity in RTÉ’s apology on his behalf.
The Derryman had this to say on the matter:
“We’re either interested in the truth and in the facts of things or we’re in Rose of Tralee world where no-one says anything and where, for example, RTÉ apologise because you and I took an entirely fair, but robust view of Barry McGuigan.
“I mean, apologising? And, of course, everybody knows the apology is false as well.
“Everybody knows, ‘Well that’s a false apology, obviously McGuigan has rung up to complain about this.’ You know, the wee shite that he is.”
Strong words indeed.
The full podcast conversation can be found, here.