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Paul Kimmage Savages 'Complete Joke' RTÉ Sportsperson Of The Year Award

PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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The winner of RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year will be announced this weekend following a public vote which closed early this morning.

The 12 nominees were:

Seamus Callanan, Eoghan Clifford, Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal, Brian Fenton, Carl Frampton, Conor McGregor, Denise Gaule, Jamie Heaslip, Daryl Horgan, Annalise Murphy, Paul O’Donovan, Bríd Stack.

Speaking on The Last Word with Matt Cooper on Today FM, Paul Kimmage had a few things to get off his chest about the list. Kimmage's thoughts have been marinading for a week. It's rant which he told Cooper he wanted to air last Monday.

Paul Kimmage RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year criticism

The Sunday Independent journalist said that he believes the list compiled by RTÉ to be a 'joke'. He later added that the national broadcaster should stick to 'Dancing With The Stars'.

A particular point which irks Kimmage is the inclusion of Paralympic cycling tandem duo Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal but the exclusion of Gary O'Donovan, one half of the boat which brought home silver for Ireland in the lightweight double sculls in Rio. He feels this decision does not make sense.

I don't know who put this list together. It is a complete joke. A lot of these lists are a joke but this is Oscar of joke lists. From RTÉ, which is no surprise, because they don't have a clue out there.

I really think that they should be made stand up and explain this because it's actually quite extraordinary.

You've got Paul O'Donovan but not Gary. As Eamon Sweeney [in the Sunday Independent] says 'Are they drawing on a vast fund of technical rowing knowledge which enabled them to detect that Gary wasn't actually row at all but was sitting there letting Paul do all the work?' Which is an elegant way of putting it. We've got half a boat but, as Eamon Sweeney points out, we've got a full tandem - Katie George Dunlevy and her pilot Eve McCrystal. They're both included. What is the logic in putting in a full tandem and half a boat. I don't get that.

We've only had ten, I think, Olympic silver medals in our history at the game. That Gary O'Donovan can't make the list with an Olympic silver medal, you imagine that this list is dripping with gold medalists.

RTÉ Head of Sport Ryle Nugent has since clarified that Katie George Dunlevy is on the list as an individual.

Kimmage also believes that there were a number of high profile exclusions from the list and the inclusion of a number of whose profile he was unaware.

I don't want to be insulting but there are people on there that I've never heard of.

Thomas Barr, fourth place in the 400m hurdles. This is an Olympic sprinting event and he places fourth, nearly gets a medal and he's not on the list.

Robbie Brady, performing at an elite level. Daryl Horgan is on the list, he's done well for Dundalk, had a fantastic season but Robbie Brady goes to the Euros, plays brilliantly, has everybody the whole country jumping out of our seats.

There are people on there that, not only wouldn't I jump out of my seat, I wouldn't get out of my seat.

Rory McIlroy: world number two, FedExCup, won a fantastic Irish Open - he's not good enough.

Kimmage was also critical of the award being decided by public vote.

These things are going to be judged by lads sitting at home with cans of Heineken. It's not like there's going to be merit in this, even though the list is brutal. This is another popular vote.

Vincent Hogan [in the Irish Independent] making the point today that it's popular vote so there's only going to be one winner and that's Conor McGregor because no one has more fans who are prepared to jump on phones than he has. It could be that Conor McGregor wins and that Conor McGregor deserves to win. Carl Frampton, another great candidate.

It's tokenism and it's just awful.

Of those on the list, Kimmage would choose boxer Carl Frampton - who this year became the second ever Irishman to hold world titles in two different weight divisions - as his Sportsperson of the Year.


I would go for Carl Frampton, for a good reason. I was listening to Andy Lee, I think he was on Off The Ball over the weekend. He described Frampton as probably the best boxer we've ever had. When someone like Andy Lee says that, you've got to sit up.

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