Mayo goaltender Rob Hennelly has spoken openly for the first time about the online abuse he received after his district’s defeat in the 2016 All-Ireland final.
he year was in the midst of the great rivalry between Dublin and Mayo and the 2016 final was finally decided after a rare replay. Unfortunately for Mayo, they came up just a point short.
It was particularly tough for Hennelly as he conceded a penalty mid-game and was dealt a black card.
After the heartbreaking loss, his disappointment was compounded by the storm of abuse he faced online.
For the first time in eight years, Hennelly said he “wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”
“I’ve said things about myself that I wouldn’t repeat … You’d wonder how people would even say those things, it’s so outrageous,” he said RTÉ prime time.
“The conversations are getting very frequent, very personal and probably because of the lack of regulation on Twitter and stuff. It’s also very anonymous. So people get away with a lot on these platforms and so it gets in a pretty dark place in terms of GAA from time to time.
“After the experiences I’ve had with online abuse, it’s something I’m not so keen on talking about now and it’s more because I’ve dealt with it, I put it in its place, but that has been said at the time I found it very difficult to deal with.”
After the online attacks, the 32-year-old limited his social media use to protect himself.
“It’s kind of something I’ve distanced myself from a lot because it offers very little to you as a player, be it positive or negative feedback. I find that I just can’t control it. It doesn’t add anything to my life and I cut it out as much as possible,” he added.
On the same show, GAA President Larry McCarthy said that the problem of online abuse is a growing and very serious problem.
“I am concerned about the abuse that people suffer and experience as members of the GAA. There is a broader problem here. If this level of abuse continues, will people continue to volunteer for a voluntary sports organization? Logically you would say no and it will affect our ability to offer hurling and soccer at clubs across the country,” he added.
It comes like Sunday game Expert Ursula Jacob recently spoke out against the abuse she recently received online.
Meanwhile, Wexford inter-county hurling umpire James Owens said he was also targeted by trolls online.
The full interview with Rob Hennelly and others will air prime time tonight at 9:35 p.m.
https://www.independent.ie/news/i-wouldnt-wish-it-on-my-worst-enemy-mayo-goalkeeper-rob-hennelly-reveals-hurt-caused-by-online-abuse-41858828.html ‘I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy’ – Mayo goaltender Rob Hennelly reveals online abuse injuries