Pat Spillane: 'I jumped before I was pushed from The Sunday Game'

Pat Spillane: 'I jumped before I was pushed from The Sunday Game'

Former Kerry footballer and pundit Pat Spillane has sought to clarify the circumstances surrounding his departure from the popular GAA show, "The Sunday Game."

Spillane, a Kerry legend, had been part of the Sunday Game panel for 30 years before retiring in the summer of 2022. The Kerry native has stated that several individuals have expressed to him their nostalgia for his presence on television. He refutes the narrative that he was dismissed, claiming that he departed before RTÉ had the opportunity to remove him.

"GAA fans I encounter at matches express their longing for my presence since my retirement from The Sunday Game," said Spillane in his Sunday World column.

"From my perspective, I miss the excitement of covering matches live on TV as well as having the platform that national TV affords. Conversely, I do not miss the lengthy overnight drives from Dublin, often resulting in me not returning home until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning.

"Nor do I miss the Allianz League programme, which required working a 12-hour shift and monitoring three games simultaneously on screens. But let us clarify why I exited the programme.

"I left before I was pushed. Believe me, my P45 was prepared and waiting for me, but I refused to grant anyone the satisfaction of declaring me finished, so I departed on my terms."

Former RTE GAA pundit Pat Spillane (Photo By Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The 68-year-old asserts that he was about to be replaced because RTÉ Sport executives wanted to introduce younger members to the panels in the name of inclusivity.

The Kerry great also contends that sports analysis has become overly politically correct and generic, arguing that eliminating pundits over 60 is unjust.

"The programme has followed the trend seen across all sporting platforms, with its analysis becoming overly politically correct and generic," he added.

"There is a significant contradiction here.

"While there is a push for inclusivity, sports programmes are engaging in exclusivity by excluding male pundits aged 60 or older, which I believe is unfair."

He also believes that RTÉ have followed the lead of English broadcasting giant Sky Sports, but Sky have reversed their choice and gone with the likes of Roy Keane, Gary Neville, and Jamie Carragher for clicks and popularity.

"It appears that RTÉ Sport executives opted to remove so-called celebrity sports pundits.

"They followed the lead of Sky Sports and instead chose an analysis format focused on in-depth statistics and gadgets.

"Interestingly, Sky Sports has reversed its approach, now centering its soccer analysis around the opinions of three celebrity pundits: Roy Keane, Gary Neville, and Jamie Carragher."