Jim Gavin slams media for 'bile' over Diarmuid Connolly incident

Jim Gavin
Jim Gavin

Dublin boss Jim Gavin launched an impassioned attack on a variety of media outlets and accused them of attacking suspended forward Diarmuid Connolly's "good name" in the aftermath of the controversial win over Carlow earlier this month.

He also claimed that a senior counsel had advised that if Connolly's suspension had progressed as far as arbitration, it may have been thrown out but the player declined to go down this road.

Dublin refused to speak individually to yesterday's host broadcasters RTE and instead staged a general media conference in which Gavin referred to the "bile" and "malevolent attitudes" in certain media outlets during their coverage of the Connolly affair.

"First of all we can't condone any player interfering with match officials whether it's in the rulebook or not," said Gavin.

"Diarmuid accepts he made a mistake and straight up he accepted the suspension. For my part, what concerned me was the way his good name was attacked before we even saw the referee's report.

"Freedom of expression is one of the rights in the Republic but it's not absolute. Each individual has his own right and I believe that his good name was affected by that.

"We had the national broadcaster in their post-match review - both Pat Spillane and Colm O'Rourke, but particularly Pat - read out a pre-determined statement, which was disappointing.

"Particularly because both of them are teachers you'd hope they'd understand that people do make mistakes and that due process should be allowed before we become judge, jury and executioner in one particular incident.

"We saw on Sky Sports the rulebook being read out against them.

"It was my decision to pursue with the CHC and get their opinion on it.

"We received advice from senior counsel that if this went to arbitration the case wouldn't hold but Diarmuid didn't want that to happen. He just wanted to move on in the best interests of the team. That's what he decided to do.

"Within 24 hours and before the referee's report was signed off there was not a media campaign, but it got a lot of traction in the media and I still think his good name - and more importantly the right that he has as an individual in the Republic - was certainly attacked.

"Diarmuid has put his hand up and said it was a mistake and he's prepared to accept his suspension.

"I have a duty of care for the player and I firmly believe there was an attack on his good name.

"Freedom of expression and opinion is an important part of our constitution in the Republic but it's not absolute. You can't attack somebody's good name unwarranted and I believe it was on this instance.

"The bile and the malevolent attitude that certain broadcasters went after him with… an incident happened in the game and we need to let the referee's report be issued and then we can reflect on it. I don't condone what happened and neither does he. But people really went after him, and that is disappointing from the Gaelic Athletic Association."

Vian Independent,ie/David Kelly