The Monday Morning Sunday Game Review - Dolan vs Whelan

The Monday Morning Sunday Game Review - Dolan vs Whelan

And so it's begun in earnest. The sun is here, the Championship is upon us and that means the Sunday Game is ripe for some snide comments and the review of the reviewers.

It was rather apt that the GAA's defiantly low-key approach to the beginning of the championship was mirrored by the Sunday Game last night. The fireworks were kept in abeyance.

Two hungry young guns of the punditry game - Dessie Dolan and Ciaran Whelan - were in situ for the opener. The more earnest viewer may have been satisfied we were spared histrionics but those looking for controversy would have slouched in their chairs - more than even Joe Brolly has in the past.

Here we rank last night's panellists in terms of their contribution to the gaiety of the nation under a range of criteria.

Headline friendly


No Sunday Game can pass by now without one member of the panel proposing an alternative to the current championship system, whether it be a radical overhaul or a minor tweak.


Whelo offered some morsels for the following day's columnists by proposing a round robin for the weaker counties in Leinster.

The impulse behind the proposal was a worthy one. Namely, stopping lads from figuring that they've better things to be doing than playing for Wicklow by enticing them with the prospect of more games against teams of their standard.

Like many good ideas, it has been tried before being discarded for some strange reason. There was a four-team round robin for the smaller counties in Leinster around the turn of the century.

Dessie was fine throughout. He did at one point rule out Carlow as potential All-Ireland contenders.

Dessie was perhaps afraid of offending the more deluded folk of Carlow by making the question sound too rhetorical. His tone suggested that he looked into the possibility but was now happy to dismiss it.

What he appeared to be saying was that on balance Carlow probably wouldn't win the All-Ireland.


Ciaran Whelan 7/10

Dessie Dolan 4/10


Sunday Game panellists don't engage in banter, they partake in a much less socially destructive activity called 'craic'.

The banter-merchants across the water would have given Alan Mulhall no rest after his howler in the early minutes against Longford. The purveyors of craic felt it didn't warrant any attention.

The right-wing English historian Michael Burleigh once described 'craic' as 'a form of mindless gabbing'. This is a bit harsh but nor can we pretend that craic is the highest form of wit.


Craic in the Sunday Game context means making timeless assertions about the enduring cuteness of Kerrymen while nudging your colleague in the shoulder.

The craic reading wasn't off the charts last night. Ciaran Whelan has a grinding seriousness which usually precludes the possibility of too much inanity seeping in.

The highlight in craic terms came when Dessie mentioned that he had taught a couple of the Offaly players, including goalscorer Graham Guilfoyle.

Des Cahill tried to get his around the idea that an ex-Westmeath Gaelic footballer and a current Sunday Game panellist could also work as a teacher by saying the words 'Mr. Dolan' aloud.

It quickly became apparent that this was an entirely plausible scenario.

As is obligatory whenever Offaly are playing, Shane Lowry was mentioned. If they'd any sense, they'd stick a 'Lowry-meter' in the corner of the screen during Offaly games, indicating his mood at a given time depending on the score.


Dessie Dolan - 6/10

Ciaran Whelan - 5/10

Slouch rating

Decisively non-racy poses from the lads last night. Their feet dug in under the desk, they were upright to a fault. Perhaps the lads upstairs had a word. Let's hope they haven't neutered Brolly this year.


However, in their pre-show internet teaser, the slouching was cranked up almost to the max. It wasn't quite Brolly levels of indecency but they still looked obnoxiously relaxed. Especially Whelan.

It should be said that the 40-second facebook video is more tolerant of such louche posing.

Dessie Dolan - 3/10

Ciaran Whelan - 4/10


Sartorial elegance

Since Tomás O'Sé dabbled with a dicky bow, there has been a lurch towards conservatism on the panel. Our fashion department were not breathlessly discussing the outfits this morning.

Ciaran Whelan - 5/10

Dessie Dolan - 5/10

Final result

Decidedly unremarkable for the first week of our review but Whelan pips Nolan on a score of 21/40 to 18/40. We'll look forward to things spicing up a bit in the next couple of weeks.

Any Other Business


Those in O'Connor Park would have noticed a crane looming way above the patrons. It turns out that this was to allow viewers at home a wide angle lens on how the Offaly forwards ran roughshod through the porous Longford defence.

Read more: Ciaran Whelan Highlighted A Major Problem For The Weaker Counties On The Sunday Game

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney

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