Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness says that the Sunday Game ‘had a constant agenda against Donegal’ during his tenure.
After his first Championship game as the Donegal manager, a low-key win over Antrim in 2011, McGuinness blasted RTÉ’s pundits for their coverage of the game.
Ryan Bradley was famously given a man of the match award on the basis that his display had been slightly better than the rest of the performers. ‘The best of a bad bunch,’ was how Pat Spillane called it at the time.
“We just felt that after the game, particularly in relation to the man of the match Ryan Bradley that night on the Sunday Game, that he was disrespected,” McGuinness said after Donegal’s next game, a win over Cavan.
”You can eulogize about Kerry and then talk about Dublin, the perennial chokers – but Donegal, just poke fun at them.”
Donegal remained in the glare of the media and their story was one of the most fascinating of all time during McGuinness’s spell as manager.
“I am far from the biggest fan of The Sunday Game. I felt that The Sunday Game had a constant agenda against Donegal when I was managing,” McGuinness, who has this week taken up a job as assistant manager to Roger Schmidt at Beijing Sinobo Guoan in China, wrote in his Irish Times column this week.
“Its punditry did shape thought process around the country as to how we were perceived. But in reality, it meant nothing to what we did on the field.”
McGuinness was writing about the recent furore over the reaction to Diarmuid Connolly’s 12-week suspension and Dublin manager Jim Gavin’s outburst against the Sunday Game.
McGuinness wrote: “I feel that the Gavin’s comments bring the game into disrepute. To say that ‘there is no doubt in my mind’ that The Sunday Game panel influenced the decision is impossible to reconcile with what he must know to be the reality of the situation.
“People have agendas and at certain times pundits do try to spin stories to create pressure or a certain perspective. People get hot under the collar and use it as energy and drive and to get the best out of themselves and spin it back again. So the media and ex-players in the media can have an influence.
“But this was not one of those situations. The reality here was that Connolly shouldn’t have done what he did and anything said or not said on The Sunday Game could not change that fact one iota.”
McGuinness said the video evidence against Connolly was ‘irrefutable’ and added: “He laid his hand on the official and by the letter of the law had to be hit with a suspension.”Tags: