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The Sunday Game Pundit Calls Out Abuse He Received Over Clare Bans

The Sunday Game Pundit Calls Out Abuse He Received Over Clare Bans
By Gary Connaughton

Another week, another set of bans overturned in the GAA.

It is an almost weekly occurrence at this stage. Whenever there is a high profile sending off in either code, you can be assured that the players involved will not end up serving the ban they are given.

Of course, this week's case involving Clare duo Peter Duggan and Rory Hayes was a bit more bizarre. The pair were not sent off for their actions in the Munster final loss to Limerick, but they would later be cited and banned by the GAA after a couple of off the ball incidents were highlighted on The Sunday Game.

The players were retrospectively punished and were set to miss this weekend's All-Ireland quarter-final against Wexford. However, those bans (along with that of Galway's Ciaran Fahy) were overturned on appeal earlier this week.

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Shane Dowling and Brendan Cummins were the pundits in the studio that identified this incident, with the former now opening up on the abuse he received as a result.

Shane Dowling calls out abuse after The Sunday Game segment

Writing in his column for RTÉ, the former Limerick star called out the abuse that has been directed his way since that segment aired on The Sunday Game, which led to the Clare duo receiving their suspensions. Dowling said that there was certainly no agenda at play here on his part, with the show highlighting incidents such as this long before he became involved.

As I sit down to discuss this weekend's quarter-finals, the news has just broken about all three lads being cleared to play...

It's the elephant in the room now so I may as well speak about it and get it out of the way. The reality here is, no matter what I say or write about it, there is a certain cohort of people who will not believe me, and also just continue to abuse me and that’s fine, if that’s what people want to do.

I have never experienced the levels of online abuse that I have been subjected to over the last ten days, but obviously that is where society is gone...

If I am nothing else since I started work on The Sunday Game, I am most certainly pro players. Not being long out of the game I know full well what players do, and what they want.

Whenever a chance has presented itself, in recent times or times ahead, if it makes sense I will back players more so than anybody else. Seeing the lads get cited, followed by proposed bans and suspensions, gave me absolutely zero satisfaction, and I mean that...

The only thing I'll say on the matter is The Sunday Game has always shown talking points, long before I ever was with them. Just go back to last year's Munster final night-time show, when the lads in studio highlighted just two incidents from the game, looking at Aaron Gillane and Seamus Flanagan and debating whether they should have been sent off or not.

And of course there are many more. The lads have now gotten off on a technicality, and more power to their legal team, or whoever it was spotted whatever could be done. We can now look forward to both games, full panels of players, and no excuses.

Suggesting Dowling had a role in highlighting this due to some sort of agenda against Clare seems like a ridiculous claim, although logic usually goes out the window for many in situations such as this.

As for the GAA itself, their disciplinary processes could certainly do with an overhaul.

SEE ALSO: Canning Calls Nonsense On Minor Hurlers Not Playing Before Seniors

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