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Pat Spillane believes the ‘Dublin brand has been damaged’ by training breach

Pat Spillane Dublin

“It won’t affect them as footballers or a team, but the brand has been damaged to a certain extent.”

Pat Spillane believes the Dublin GAA ‘brand’ has been damaged after the county’s senior footballers were sanctioned for breaching regulations on collective training under Covid-19 restrictions.

Dublin boss Dessie Farrell was suspended for 12 weeks after several Dublin footballers were photographed participating in an early-morning session at Innisfails GAA club at the end of March.

Farrell’s ban followed similar punishments for Cork manager Ronan McCarthy and Down boss Paddy Tally, while Monaghan’s Seamus McEnaney was also suspended for 12 weeks by his county board after the Ulster side’s breach.

Pat Spillane Dublin

Pat Spillane on Dublin.

Speaking on the RTE GAA podcast, Kerry legend Spillane said he was “stunned and amazed” when he heard about the Dublin session.

“When I heard the Dubs were breaking the rules, I was stunned. I was shocked, I was amazed,” said the eight-time All-Ireland winner.

“With the Dubs, everything is managed. It’s all about protecting the brand. It’s all about controlling the narrative. No-one knows what is happening inside of the camp.

Pat Spillane Dublin

“It’s a bit like the brightest boy in the class suddenly being caught cheating, or you suddenly realise that the local parish priest has a wife and family in the next county.

“You look up to the Dubs as these are your role models.”

Earlier this month, the GAA announced that this year’s inter-county football championship will once again be run off in a straight knockout format.

Collective inter-county training can resume from Monday ahead of the draws for the provincial championships, with the Football League campaign beginning on 15-16 May.

Diarmuid Connolly says 12-week Dessie Farrell ban ‘extreme at best’

Spillane has said, that while the season has not even started, it is right that four counties will be without their manager when the campaign begins.

“The GAA season hasn’t started yet, inter-county training hasn’t started yet, but four of our top managers are suspended and justifiably so.

“In one sense, they [Dublin] were wrong, wrong, wrong. In another sense, there is no danger with Covid transmission outdoors. It was much-a-do about nothing.

“It won’t affect them as footballers or a team, but the brand has been damaged to a certain extent.”

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