PAT SPILLANE described Johnny Sexton’s retirement post as “pure gibberish”.
The 38-year-old hung upafter Ireland’s elimination in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup against New Zealand.
It was a disappointing end to the now former out-half’s career as he had become Ireland’s all-time leading points scorer at the start of the tournament.
In an emotional statement onSexton sought consolation from his team’s early exit.
He said: “The sadness and frustration that we couldn’t move forward.”They will continue to do so for a long time, but the overarching feeling is the pride I felt playing with such a dedicated and talented group of players.
“The best group I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of on and off the field.”
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Sexton added: “Four years ago we sat down as a team and talked about what we wanted to achieve.”
“Our main motivation and main objective was to inspire the nation. I think we did that. We lost, but we won.”
This choice of words sparked criticism from Kerrygreat Pat Spillane, who described Sexton as Ireland’s greatest rugby player of all time.
He compared his temperament to that of former Republic of Ireland and Man Utd captain Roy Keane and basketball icon Michael.
However, when it came to his farewell message to rugby fans, Spillane admitted he was “surprised” by the statement, which he described as “pure gibberish”.
Writing in his Column for the Sunday Worldsaid the eight-time All-Ireland winner: “What? We lost, but we won?”
“That was the most un-Sexton quote ever. It’s pure gibberish, which might be normal coming from some PR guru, but not from a born winner.”
“My God, can you imagine Jack O’Connor and the Kerry players saying to the Kerry fans, ‘We lost but we won’ after they were beaten by Dublin in the All-Ireland final?
“They would have been driven out of the district”
“I suspect his statement reflects the huge difference between the perception of Gaelic football (and hurling) in Ireland and rugby.”
“The rugby fraternity seems happy with the world rankings and the winsTesting.”
The 67-year-old said winning the All-Ireland was the be-all and end-all for counties like Kerry and Kilkenny.
As a result, he said that not winning Sam Maguire or Liam MacCarthy would be viewed as a failure, contrary to his conclusion from Sexton’s statement.
He added: “We lost but we won. Pull the other one. Ireland lost. Ending.”