Dónal Óg Cusack has no regrets after his comments about post-colonialism on The Sunday Game provoked a strong reaction.
The three-time All-Ireland winning goalkeeper said that the resistance to change and tactical innovation that he has experienced around hurling is a throw-back to the days of British rule across the island of Ireland.
This annoyed some viewers, who felt it was ignoring an incredible All-Ireland semi-final between Tipperary and Wexford, while other The Sunday Game pundits gave their less-than-complimentary views on social media.
We need your consent to load this SoundCloud contentWe use SoundCloud to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
"In many instances the likes of Twitter has replaced the writing on the back of a toilet door that you saw when you were kid," said Cusack, speaking on the latest episode of The RTÉ GAA Podcast. "You need to be very careful with how you react if you use that as a barometer.
"If you do look at the show on Sunday night, we were on air for over 100 minutes and five minutes were probably taken up by those controversial pieces, if they must be called that, there was 25 minutes on each game, which is a lot from my experience, there were interviews and analysis.
"Brendan's (Cummins) stuff was excellent, Derek (McGrath) was insightful as always and the piece on the change of structures around half-time, I thought that was a great catch. We did a fair piece around the refs, although I hear people weren’t happy that we weren’t bashing the refs as much as we should be.
"A lot of the focus, from what I hear, has been around the British comment.
"David Fitzgerald having to defend himself after the game in terms of the way he chose to set up, it has been thrown at him the last number of years, and it has been thrown at any changes we see in the game as if it’s in some way disrespecting the game. I have a strong belief that it’s actually respecting the game to innovate."
Cusack also made the point that it was far from the first time that he had referenced British rule in Ireland and its relationship with innovation in the GAA, but that this was the first time it generated such a strong reaction.
He said: "We were a colony for a long time, unfortunately. Our attitude towards changes in our games reminds me of the slowness of the English to adapt to change in the sports they founded.
"Is it a thing where people want you to say and show what they want you to say and show? That kind of herd mentality isn’t one I’m interested in at all.
"When I came into RTÉ first I felt there was a bit of an old boys' club feeling to it and it was a bit like joining a political party in the olden days – you walk into the Dáil bar and you vote with us and talk like us. Once you conform, you’ll be okay.
"It’s amusing to think that even among the pundits in RTÉ that there’d be that kind of indulgent and egotistical... writing columns about a couple of points made on Sunday’s show that were only a small part of that show.
"If it makes people feel better about themselves, if they get a few more likes on Twitter and fills a few columns, I’m happy for them."