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Pat Spillane: Dublin Gaelic footballers who broke Covid restrictions should not be punished by GAA

pat spillane

“I think the players named have suffered enough due to the adverse publicity they received.”

Pat Spillane believes that the Dublin footballers who broke Covid restrictions for an outdoor training session should not be punished by the GAA.

Spillane was writing in the aftermath of pictures published by the Irish Independent on Thursday morning which appeared to show some members of the Dublin football team taking part in a training session together, with a coach present.

Dessie Farrell, the Dublin manager, was suspended for 12 weeks by the Dublin GAA after the incident.

pat spillane

Pat Spillane.

Earlier in the week, the GAA had released a statement to all counties warning that any training taking place before April 19 – the date that teams are allowed return to inter-county training – would put the start of the season “in jeopardy”.

Nevertheless, while the Sunday Game pundit accepts that what Dublin did was wrong, he doesn’t feel individual players should be punished also.

“I think the players named have suffered enough due to the adverse publicity they received and should not be penalised by the GAA,” Spillane wrote in his Sunday World column.

“Let’s move on and not drag out this saga anymore.”

pat spillane

County and club training.

The eight-time All-Ireland winner revealed he had heard stories “about county and club teams training despite the ban” including an alleged “county challenge game” taking place in recent days.

“Ireland is a world leader in what the late, great, John Hume called ‘whataboutery’,” Spillane continued.

“Discovering loopholes and bending the rules is part of our DNA.”

pat spillane dublin

Initial reaction.

However, the 65-year-old was taken aback when initially seeing the images and admitted that the whole incident made him as “mad as hell”.

“As a lifelong and passionate GAA man the incident has made me mad as hell,” Spillane added.

“I’m very disappointed and feel I’ve been let down by those Dublin players. Fewer than 12 hours earlier a road map had been provided for the return of inter-county training.

“What the players did was against the rules of both the GAA and the Government. Effectively they were giving the two fingers to both organisations.”

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