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Ryle Nugent Hits Out Again At Journalists Who "Should Know Better" After Award Criticism

Ryle Nugent Hits Out Again At Journalists Who "Should Know Better" After Award Criticism
By Gavin Cooney
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The shortlist for RTE's Sports Person of the Year has been tearing the nation's media apart in recent days. 2016 was a spectacular year for Irish sport, so a 12-person shortlist was always likely to cause a bit of debate. The subsequent level of anger, however, has been surprising: BBC's Sports Personality of the Year rarely attracts criticism of this ferocity. The award will be decided by public vote, and here's the shortlist:

Seamus Callanan – The Sunday Game Hurler of the Year capped an incredible year by scoring 13 points to ensure Tipperary’s All-Ireland victory.

Eoghan Clifford – Claimed a road cycling Gold and a track cycling bronze at his first Paralympic Games.

Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal - Won Paralympic tandem cycling gold and silver medals.

Brian Fenton – Dublin’s midfield general continued his phenomenal record of being unbeaten in a Dublin jersey.

Carl Frampton – Became just the second ever Irishman ever to have held World Titles in two different weight classes.

Denise Gaule – Denise added the Camogie Player of the Year Award to her first O’Duffy Cup.

Jamie Heaslip – The World Rugby Player of the Year nominee was a colossus in Ireland’s victories over South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Daryl Horgan – Dundalk’s magic man was the outstanding player in a truly outstanding team.

Conor McGregor – The Notorious furthered his claim as Ireland’s most famous sportsman by stepping down a weight to claim his second UFC title.

Annalise Murphy – Annalise came back from her London 2012 heartbreak to claim an Olympic Sailing Silver Medal in Rio.

Paul O’Donovan – Added a World Championship Gold to the Olympic Silver he picked up with his brother in Rio.

Bríd Stack – Bríd was named ladies footballer of the Year after picking up her 11th All-Ireland medal.

And the criticism soon followed. Eamons Dunphy and Sweeney found fault in their newspaper columns: Dunphy describing Conor McGregor's inclusion ahead of Robbie Brady as "ludicrous", while the latter pointed to the unfairness of shortlisting Paul O'Donovan and not his brother Gary.

And then came Paul Kimmage's stinging dismissal of the awards on Today FM yesterday. The Sunday Independent journalist was speaking to Matt Cooper, and he panned the shortlist. Here are a few choice quotations:

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....

...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....

...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...

...It's tokenism and it's just awful.

This elicited a strong response from Ryle Nugent, RTE's Head of Sport. Nugent took to twitter to argue back:

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And there followed a testy exchange on twitter:

Ryle hasn't left things there. Speaking to Independent.ie, Nugent has expressed his disappointment at the criticism by Dunphy, Sweeney and Kimmage. The issue, he says, lies not with the criticism of the shortlist, but in their failure to check facts, and be fully informed in their criticism.

People are entitled to have an opinion but I do have an issue when journalists who should know better and demand standards of everybody else around them don't bother to abide by that position themselves.

They demand standards of other people, then you know what, if you are going to form an opinion, have your view informed before you come to that opinion.

The specific issue he has here lies with Kimmage and Sweeney's question as to why the list included a "full tandem and half a boat". Nugent says that the O'Donovan's are included in the team category, and that Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal are included as the latter was Dunlevy's pilot, something Nugent claims "nobody bothered to check".

Nugent also rejected Kimmage's idea that there no criteria was applied in the drawing of the list:

There is the criteria. No, go away and say we are a joke, a mess, picking them out of a hat. Cheap digs, ill-informed, not doing your own homework, demanding standards of others... thanks very much, but I'm not having it.

Read Nugent's full rebuttal on the Indo's website.

See Also: Watch: Kilkenny Minor Scores Old Trafford Pearler In FA Youth Cup Victory Over United

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