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10th Oct 2019

‘I was told Joanne Cantwell had lost confidence in my abilities as an analyst’

Alan Loughnane

Joe Brolly warned by RTÉ

Joe Brolly received a warning from RTÉ for his conduct on All-Ireland final day for telling Pat Spillane to “stop patting” him.

He also said he was told that Joanne Cantwell, presenter of The Sunday Game Live, had “lost confidence” in his abilities as an analyst.

Brolly was dropped from the studio panel for the replay and replaced by former Mayo manager Stephen Rochford.

He made the comments during a live Ireland Unfiltered, recorded on location in Derry.

“I got a warning,” Brolly told host Dion Fanning.

“You couldn’t make this stuff up.

“It said at 11 minutes past three on the day of the drawn All-Ireland Final you said to Pat Spillane, and it was put into quotes, ‘Would you stop patting my arm?’

“‘This was grossly unprofessional and rude and cannot be tolerated’,” Brolly says he was told.

“I kid you not. I was also told that Joanne Cantwell had lost confidence in my abilities as an analyst.”

Brolly said there was a “culture of fear” within RTE, where the “blander the better” was encouraged.

“We got a memo to say we want to be more like Sky, which I put in the bin.”

Brolly claimed RTE’s coverage was becoming “script-based where really what they need are newsreaders, not people who are expressing an opinion.” RTE, he said, was in danger of becoming like the civil service.

During the interview, Brolly was keen to outline how he loved his time in RTÉ and spoke warmly of the “sense of family” he felt while working on The Sunday Game.

“Don’t get me wrong, I loved RTÉ,” Brolly added.

“I mean, the sense of family that we had and whenever I started there all the producers and all the people that have been in it, Colm and Pat and all those guys, the fun that we have had.

“On All-Ireland final morning this year, I was conscious of Michael Lyster so I rang him to if he was OK and stuff like that.

“If any of us were ever in hospital, you’d be visited and there was a great family feel and you could sense that affection.”

When contacted for comment, an RTE spokesperson said, “Joe Brolly remains under contract with RTÉ and beyond that we have no comment to make.”

When he was asked by Dion Fanning if he was finished with RTE, Brolly replied, “Yeah I would think so, yeah. Well, after tonight.”

The full interview with Joe Brolly on Ireland Unfiltered will be available on Tuesday, 15 October.

Ireland Unfiltered, brought to you in partnership with Carlsberg Unfiltered, will be available everywhere you get your podcasts and on YouTube every Tuesday.