Conor Mortimer: Pat Spillane was like a dog with a bone over the Diarmuid Connolly incident

Influential TV pundit milked controversy for all it was worth on The Sunday Game

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Diarmuid Connolly got hit with a 12-week ban earlier in the week for pushing a linesman, there wasn’t much in it to my eyes, but rules are rules.

The carry-on on the Sunday Game was a bit over the top with Pat Spillane going out of his way to mention Connolly’s misdemeanour at every opportunity and to stick both legs in on him.

It would’ve been interesting to see the exchange had Ciaran Whelan been on the panel. Without a Dub to fight his corner it was very easy for the Kerryman to take aim at the four time All-Ireland winner.

The presenter Des Cahill did reel him in a bit, but it was clear that he wanted to make as big a deal out of it as possible and to keep mentioning the 12-week ban.

The Sunday Game is hugely influential and whatever the pundits discuss will be the hot-topic in the GAA for the following week.

The ref is also going to see it and could well be influenced by whatever angle the panel decide to take on an issue.

Spillane knows this better than anyone and he was like a dog with a bone on Sunday night, something that his county men might thank him for down the line.

Every one of us saw what happened but it’s totally unfair to Connolly for the likes of Spillane to use his influence as a respected TV pundit to make a bigger deal out of it than it was.

GALWAY V MAYO

I’m from near the Galway border so as you might expect I loved nothing more than beating them every time we came up against each other.

For years this game was a dead rubber, with Mayo light years ahead of the Tribesmen. James Horan came in and he got a group of players in who all bought into what he was doing.

They upped the strength and conditioning, skills training got a lot better and lads were doing everything they needed to off the pitch to keep themselves in good knick.

At the same time all you were hearing out of Galway were rumblings about managers and lads not wanting to join the squad. It sounded messy and definitely played a big part in the widening of the gap between the two sides.

Last year they caught us cold. They hadn’t shown any sign of been capable of beating us up until then but they got a goal at the right time and closed out the game well.

Our lads will be chomping at the bit to have a cut at them this weekend as that result would’ve definitely hurt them.

The gap has definitely closed, Galway have had a good league campaign and managed to unearth a few players and there’s a real sense that this is a big championship derby for the first time in a long time.

Looking at the teams, Mayo have enough quality to get the win. They’ve shown time and time again that they have the ability to beat any side in the country and despite Galway having their tails up, our lads’ experience getting them over the line.

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