The pundits on The Sunday Game have frequently been accused of deliberately stirring up controversy around incidents in games.
Their trenchant criticism of Tiernan McCann’s dive earlier in the season was probably a factor in the player being accused of bringing the GAA into disrepute, although he was eventually cleared.
So it was all the more surprising that the panel took a very circumspect line when discussing one particular incident from yesterday’s All-Ireland SFC final, won by Dublin.
Dublin’s Philly McMahon was involved in an incident with Kerry substitute Kieran Donaghy in the second-half, with many viewers believing he gouged the eye of the Kerry player.
Kerry’s Tomás Ó Sé appeared to think the show wasn’t the time to be discussing the incident.
“There was a lot of talk about it on social media,” he said after the clip was played.
“On a night like this, you don’t want to be highlighting stuff like this. I personally think it’s wrong to be highlighting it on a night like this.”
Dublin’s Ciarán Whelan was equally cautious, suggesting the camera angles might be giving a wrong impression of what actually happened.
“They can look different from angles,” he said. “Okay, from Philly’s perspective, his hand is probably in somewhere where it shouldn’t be.
“Philly plays the game on the edge. He’s had a phenomenal year for Dublin in terms of his football.”
Their remarks did not go down well with many viewers, who felt the panel were giving McMahon the benefit of the doubt in a way that they didn’t with other players during the season.
@jacquihurley Not understandable. Analysis is not cheerleading. Nothing spared on Tyrone earlier in the year. Give a bad thing a bad name.— Paul O'Brien (@WestCorkPaul) September 20, 2015
Ciaran Whelan's refusal to call up McMahon is a disgrace. Could actually see him pulling Donaghy's eyelid! He'd some game though #SundayGame— Eoin Hallissey (@ehallissey91) September 20, 2015