The ongoing debate around GAA GO continues to (rather tiresomely) dominate discussion in the hurling world, and it came to a head during the weekend's live broadast of 'The Sunday Game.'
After several weeks without live Munster hurling action on our TV screens, Joanne Cantwell was joined by Joe Canning, Anthony Daly, and Donal Óg Cusack for the double header of Clare v Cork and Tipperary v Limerick.
It was a thrilling day of hurling action, with Clare nicking a late win in the early game before an enthralling draw was played out at Semple Stadium.
Before the hurling got underway, however, RTÉ host Cantwell drew the panel's attention to comments made by Donal Óg on a recent RTÉ podcast.
The ensuing discussion got extremely tense, and several major figures in the GAA world have since spoken out about the awkward opening to the Sunday Game.
GAA world reacts to Joanne Cantwell and Donal Óg's Sunday Game clash
With a dearth of hurling action on free-to-air TV in the early weeks of the season (Munster and Leinster championship games have thus far mostly been broadcast on GAA GO), there has been much debate over the sport's TV presence.
Though Donal Óg Cusack spoke strongly on the matter on RTÉ's TV coverage, he then went on to cause controversy by throwing a dig at football's Tailteann Cup on RTÉ's Hurling Nation bulletin.
He was pulled up on those remarks on Sunday's live broadcast from Semple Stadium - where a Tailteann Cup game between Tipperary and Down was the opening game of a double header with the Munster hurling clash between Tipp and Limerick later in the afternoon.
Cusack and host Joanne Cantwell would clash over the remarks, leading to an awkward and tense debate which left Joe Canning and Anthony Daly chuckling alongside the pair.
Several figures in the GAA world have now spoken out on the debate, with more than one questioning Donal Óg's apparent unwillingness to own his comments on the Tailteann Cup.
Tyrone football Kyle Coney praised Cantwell for raising the matter, while saying that it seemed as though former Cork hurler Cusack "hadn't thought through his answer at all."
Surely, when you make comments about another competition, you deserve to be pressed on it? Fair play to @Joanne_Cantwell
Sounds like Dònal Òg hasn't thought through his answer at all. https://t.co/en4uwYFE64
— Kyle Coney (@kyleconey90) May 21, 2023
Monaghan football legend Dick Clerkin made similar remarks.
In a post shared to his Twitter page, Clerkin said he did not normally like commenting on pundits but, similarly to Coney, praised Cantwell for addressing the Hurling Nation segment, saying:
Donal Óg made his bed a few weeks ago when he started all this nonsense, but now doesn't want to lie in it.
I typically dont like commenting on other pundits... as it is a tough gig that we all have our bad moments in..But this is awful to watch...DOG made his bed a few weeks ago when he started all this nonsense, but now doesn't want to lie in it...JC was 100% right to challenge him. https://t.co/Ey9xR0Dgug
— D Clerkin (@clerkin_d) May 22, 2023
Others, including multiple All-Ireland winners Philly McMahon of Dublin and Bernard Flynn of Meath, simply said that the entire segment did not come across well, in sentiments echoed by many GAA fans.
Huge respect for both Joanne and Donal, but this is a mess 😳 https://t.co/TPoEZHpVbW
— Philly Mc Mahon (@PhillyMcMahon) May 21, 2023
Holy mother of God this is APPALLING https://t.co/HcMAD0ausf
— Bernard Flynn (@bernardflynn15) May 21, 2023
Irregardless of one's stance on the GAA GO debate, it has to be said that Cantwell did quote Donal Óg Cusack's comments almost word-for-word in the Sunday Game segment, and the unwillingness of Cusack to engage in a discussion only made the segment more uncomfortable than it should have been.
We can only hope for a swift end to the tit-for-tat points scoring of the hurling v football divide which has emerged in recent weeks.