Dublin GAA boss compares media criticism to Mr Men books

Dublin GAA chief executive John Costello hit out at critics of the county's footballers in dramatic style today, comparing them to authors of children's books.

In an angry broadside before next Monday’s county convention, he took aim at the unnamed critics, accusing them of "engineering dissent" and personally profiting from unfair criticism of the All-Ireland champions.

"In the aftermath of our brilliant three-in-a-row All-Ireland SFC success this year there was some commentary from some quarters - I repeat some quarters - which I can't let go unchallenged," he said.

"A quick spin through this type of 'commentary' post this year's decider against Mayo goes something like this - full-time whistle sounds, Stephen Cluxton lifts Sam, split Dublin in two, actually make that four; these conceited Dubs might be liked by some but they'll never be loved; these unpatriotic Dubs they should be forced to surrender the GPO!

"Some of the 'rhetoric' was in fact so puerile it was like a collaboration between Roger Hargreaves, the author of the Mr Men series of books, and the writers of the timeless classic The Magic Roundabout!

"There used to be a perennial column written in some publication about the dangers of the 'Cult of the Manager' maybe some commentators should examine the 'Cult of Me' which seems very much in vogue with some of them.

"For example, have a go at the Dubs, then sit back, get invited as a paid guest onto various radio stations etc kerching, cha-ching, cha-ching, kerching!"

The idea of splitting the Dublin teams into two was first previously suggested in a 2002 Strategic Review from the GAA, but Costello dismissed the idea outright this morning.

"Suffice to say that the sense of place an identity is one of the core principles of Gaelic games. Dubin is a united county," he said.

He said that recent attempts to give the idea "a fresh lick of paint" on the basis that Dublin GAA was "short-changing" young players was "an attempt at engineering dissent" rather than "a genuine, heartfelt plea for the 'boys on the hill' to be thrown a Dublin jersey".

He added: "Maybe, if the powers that be and all counties were in agreement, Dublin could enter a senior development squad in Division 4 of the league? Yes, didn't think so!"

He also defended manager Jim Gavin, who he said was "the target on several occasions during the summer of plenty of hostility".

"Jim's 'crime was standing up for one of his players, Diarmuid Connolly (who knows he crossed the line against Carlow) in the face of so much rage and counter-rage," he said.

"As Jim, rightly, does not see his first priority as Dublin manager to provide a 'Turn Down' service for the media, he was accused of effectively being very hostile and that his delay in getting to the media area was provocative.

"Perhaps we'll have to get Jim to wear a GPS tracker in future, to give up to the second information on his location. In fact, I think there was a spare one knocking around on All- Ireland Final Sunday!"

Costello said that the delay in talking to media after the All-Ireland final was because Gavin and the players were taking pictures with a young Derry supporter with special needs.

Costello also took aim at the perception that the Dublin team enjoy special advantages and privileges far in excess of those of players from other counties.

"Myth 1: Our senior teams have meals delivered to their homes on a daily basis or ever in fact. UNTRUE," he stated.

"Myth 2: Our senior teams are given five-star, 'all-expenses paid' treatment. UNTRUE."

"Last year," Costello revealed, "two training sessions were cut short owing to floodlight failure at Innisfails. On investigation, it turned out this was caused by a player, who had to return to the dressing rooms following injury on the pitch, who turned on a heater which cut short the circuit! Nothing five-star about that!

Costello added: "I make no apology to anyone for the strategic investment we continue to make in this regard.

"In my opinion, the benefits of the money spent here comes back in multiples – not just to Dublin GAA but to the organisation nationally and to wider society too."

He also branded accusations that Dublin's players snubbed the International Rules series as "totally untrue".

There was no representation from the All-Ireland champions in the International Rules Ireland squad, which eventually lost the series 116 to 103 in Australia.

"Any player who was asked out for trials with the Irish team could not commit fully for the entire terms, owing to club commitments, or injury, or work, said Costello.

"Despite Jack McCaffery highlighting this for one commentator, in plenty of time before publication, it was still dressed up as a 'Dubs snub' story with, what read as some half-hearted disclaimer, stuck in."

KEYWORDS: Sport, GAA, Dublin


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