Spillane admits “Puke Football” jibe was wrong saying “Their All-Ireland victory was well deserved”
Well it would appear that even the “biggest critics” are capable of going back on their word and admitting they were wrong…
As Kerry have had to adapt to a new brand of “defensive” and “hard tackling” football to counteract the Dubs in 2017, it would appear that Pat Spillane has suddenly realised the error in his comments in “attacking” Tyrone’s “defensive” capabilities in overcoming Kerry back in 2003.
In a feature by John Fogarty in today’s Irish Examiner, Kerry legend and RTE Pundit, Pat Spillane, admits he made an error in condemning Tyrone for playing “puke football” in beating Kerry on their way to winning the 2003 All-Ireland title.
With Meath having done “next to nothing” since the 90s, it would appear that Tyrone gaels, and in particular Brian Dooher, will have to wait another while before Com O’Rourke admits that his 2003 RTE punditry assessment (after Tyrone’s Ulster SFC victory over Antrim) that “Tyrone will never win an All Ireland title with Brian Dooher in the team and I will eat my hat if they do” – ranks as the “Biggest Blooper” in the history of GAA and probably Sports punditry.
Not just shameful, but really poor analysis, as we all know, with Dooher going on to become one of the greatest ever All Ireland winning captains (2005 & 2008)!
Here is what Spillane said in his interview in the Examiner…
“We always thought what when Kerry got to Croke Park you leave Kerry play football. We should be allowed to play football. And maybe it’s my own fault as well that I criticised Tyrone at the time and puke football and all that.
“What they were doing was spot on because they were the first ever team from Ulster to come to Croke Park and say, ‘We’re not going to stand back and admire these boys. We’re going to get into them.’ And they did and they upset us and we didn’t like it.
“We still don’t like it and maybe I would accept criticism that I didn’t give them the credit they deserved for their All-Ireland victory, which was well deserved.
“What I saw at the time was an evolution in Gaelic football where you suddenly realised it was about defending and stopping teams from playing to their strengths and that’s carried on since. We’ve allowed Dublin to play the game on their terms.”
It would appear though that this sudden realisation has been borne out of the fact that in 2017, Kerry have also had to say “enough is enough” as they have had to adapt in a similar manner to finally get one over on the Dubs in last month’s National League final.
“I don’t want to hark back to when I played but in ’75 we won the All-Ireland. In ’76 and ’77 we were beaten by the Dubs and we were bullied out of it fair or foul. When the Dubs fouled you, Jesus, they fouled you. You knew it. They knocked the stuffing out of you.
Mick O’Dwyer said, “We need to lay down a marker. We need to show we are not going to be bullied.” And, you know what, we did. We fought fire with fire. It was violent stuff. I broke my nose.
For the record here is a clip from the “glorious 70s” and Kerry v Dublin – good clean stuff…
“You look at Kerry this year. Against Monaghan, against Mayo, they were bullied out of it and they had been bullied out of it physically and mentally by Dublin.
“This year, in the final and in Tralee, they weren’t and the Dubs didn’t like it.”
What is definite though is that the Championship buzz and the “Heat of Debate” is well and truly underway as we look forward to Sunday’s 2017 GAA Football Championship opener in Derry – now that is a tie that it seems certain that “no quarter will be given” by the derby rivals!
You can read the full feature here in the Examiner.