RTÉ will replace Joe Brolly for this Saturday’s All-Ireland football final replay with Stephen Rochford set to take his place on the panel alongside Ciarán Whelan and Pat Spillane.
As first reported by the Irish Examiner, Rochford, who previously managed Mayo and is currently part of the Donegal management team, impressed while on punditry duty during last month’s All-Ireland semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone.
Brolly was a panel member during last Sunday week’s epic drawn encounter between Gaelic football’s biggest rivals but, unsurprisingly, drew criticism from all corners of the country over his half-time comments.
Whelan and Brolly both questioned the performance of David Gough at half-time after the referee sent off Jonny Cooper for two bookable offences as well as penalising the Dublin defender and awarding Kerry a penalty. Whelan described Gough’s performance as “disgraceful” while Brolly claimed he had been “clearly influenced by the propaganda coming from Kerry”.
Since then both analysts have changed their tune but for differing reasons. Speaking on the Independent.ie’s Throw In podcast, Whelan backtracked on his remarks claiming that Gough was right to send off Cooper.
“When Clifford went out for the ball, it looked like he used his body as any good forward does to push Cooper out,” said Whelan.
“I thought Cooper had made a genuine effort to get a hand in to try and block the ball. But listen, when you look back on it this morning and look at the replays, as Cooper is going down he does pull Clifford down with him so it’s hard to argue with Gough’s decision.”
Meanwhile, Brolly maintained his position that Cooper should have remained on the field but apologised for Gough for his comments questioning his integrity.
“I suggested in the heat of the moment that David may have been influenced by the propaganda emanating from Kerry in the lead up to the game. Afterwards, I contacted David to apologise for this. It was wrong of me and unfair on David, who is a man of integrity and honour.”