The Irish punditry landscape is changing.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that Joe Brolly will not be part of RTE's All-Ireland final replay coverage this coming Saturday. It has since emerged that the former Derry player's relationship with the national broadcaster may be over for good. One man who has taken issue with this news is Eamon Dunphy.
If anyone has a spare ticket for the replay, I’ve just been let down..
— Joe Brolly (@JoeBrolly1993) September 11, 2019
Writing in Irish Daily Star, Dunphy cites Brolly as a "tough and shrewd" analyst but reserves much of his fury for the direction RTE has pursued in recent months. For Dunphy, it started prior to Euro 2016 when he was told to lay off Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.
That was, and still is, quite improper and the idea that a panelist should not give their honest opinion of what is going on is dishonest for the viewer. The softening up the content of analysts is a trend that was in train before I left RTE last year and was one of the reasons why I exited the station after more than three decades working there.
Once a network goes down that road then it is not being faithful to the customer and viewer any longer. And it’s the viewers across the country who are the ones who lose out most. Never, ever forget that they pay the largest part of RTE’s annual income through the licence fee.
RTE's coverage has changed considerably in the past year. In recent times they extended their punditry panel to recruit the likes of Derek McGrath, Brid Stack and include one-off guest appearances, such as referee Barry Kelly, former Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke, former Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Antrim hurler Neil McManus.
There has been a blowback to some attempted forensic analysis, with Donal Óg Cusack and Derek McGrath both criticised by former players for their efforts in the aftermath of the All-Ireland hurling semi-final.
While the demand for detailed breakdowns is obvious, there is clearly still a place for out-and-out entertainment. The next step for broadcasters is finding the balance.