Eight-time All-Ireland winner steps down after 30 years on TV
The former Kerry great and Sunday World columnist made the bombshell announcement at the start of this afternoon’s programme.
The eight-time All-Ireland winner joined the programme in 1992 having retired from inter-county football the previous year.
He has been ever-present since and had a stint presenting the Sunday night highlights programme between 2004 and 2006.
“In all aspects of my life I wanted to leave on my own terms. I made up my mind a couple of months ago that his would be my final year on the show and I informed RTE’S Head of Sport, Declan McBennett, of my decision.”
Spillane’s final appearance on the programme will be on All-Ireland final day on July 24 – unless the game goes to a replay. He will be 67 in December.
“I would like to think I played some small part in making The Sunday Game one of the most iconic sports programmes of my time on Irish television. I leave with no regrets but with many great memories.”
However, he acknowledged that recently working on the show had become a chore, particularly the long drives back home to Kerry after the Sunday night programme.
Though he has been a victim of personal attacks on social media he stressed that this wasn’t the reason he was stepping down.
“In recent years, and more particularly in recent months, the comments appearing on social media had become vile, personal and ageist.
“They had absolutely nothing to do with the remarks I had made about games on TV. Neither I nor my family deserved such treatment. Life is too short.
“But, just to be clear, the abuse I received on social media is NOT the reason I’m quitting.”
He said he was looking forward to exploring new chapters in his life and will continue to pen a weekly column for the Sunday World newspaper.
“I had had a great innings. In the world of television 30 years is a lifetime. It was great fun and I leave with no regrets,” he said.
Read Pat Spillane’s column every week in the Sunday World.