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Extra Time Needed If Replays Not Being Covered

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It’s a travesty to say that the G.A.A. have turned down the opportunity to show the Leinster semi-final replay between Kilkenny and Galway. The drawn game last Sunday was an advertisement for what is possible in sport. For Galway to recover from what seemed to be an unassailable Kilkenny lead just shows what this sport is all about. Fat ladies and all that may have been mentioned with ten minutes to the final whistle but no one in their right mind could imagine that she wouldn’t get to sing a note. It’s difficult to work out the reasons for not showing this game live. Do the G.A.A. seriously believe that players will be working the morning of a championship match? That’s one of the reasons John Horan, Chairman of the Leinster Council gave as not to play the game at 2.30, it would be unfair on the players to give up a full Saturday. The fact that Tullamore is a busy town on a Saturday was also taken into consideration for not having the early start. 12,000 plus people attending a match, a negative for a town? Seriously? This year’s Munster championship replay between Cork and Waterford was streamed live on RTE Player instead of television and the resulting coverage was far from ideal, it was a poor effort to say the least. In last years Leinster championship, the semi-final replay between Kilkenny and Dublin was also reduced to internet viewing. The message coming down from the top to grass roots level is to promote the game, promote the game, promote the game and yet when they get a chance themselves, they fail miserably.

If this was a Leinster football championship replay between Dublin and Kildare, would it make it to our television screens? Is hurling to be forever footballs poor relation? This year more than any other in the past ten or twelve years sees more teams with a belief that they can win the All Ireland final. They all watched last year as Clare showed them the way. Y.E. Yang mightn’t be the best known golfer in the world but he was probably the first not to be found wanting when facing Tiger Woods in the final round of a major. That victory opened the floodgates of belief for others, the impossible was then possible.

As Sky Sports came on board this year covering G.A.A. for the first time, the talk was all about promotion of the games to a worldwide audience. It’s a joke to say that we can’t even see the game in Ireland. If this is indeed the way that the G.A.A. mean to carry on, then extra time on the day of the drawn game should be given serious consideration. That won’t happen though because there’s gate money to be collected. The G.A.A. seem to want to eat cakes that they don’t even have. It would be in everyones interest if this decision was to be reconsidered. The throw in time of 2.30 on Saturday may not be ideal but it’s a hell of a lot better than the alternative. If Tullamore are unable to accommodate a championship match on a Saturday, then move it to Thurles. Thurles is not in Leinster the shouts will come, it’s as much in Leinster as Galway is!! There will be little fear of the G.A.A. ever losing it’s amateur status in the years to come and with the decision makers that are at the top, there’s no fear at all that we will come across as amateur, very amateur.

Image courtesy of GAA.ie

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