GAA explain why Kilkenny replay won’t be on television
No slot available for Dublin’s second tilt at All-Ireland champions Kilkenny
Kilkenny’s Conor Fogarty goes past Mark Schutte of Dublin during last Sunday’s drawn Leinster senior hurling championship semi-final at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Despite the widespread interest in next Saturday’s Leinster hurling semi-final replay between All-Ireland champions Kilkenny and Dublin, the match will not be shown on television, according to Croke Park’s Feargal McGill. This is because the Ulster football semi-final between Cavan and Monaghan in Clones is already scheduled for broadcast.
Explaining why a match with less obvious box-office appeal takes precedence, McGill, the association’s head of games administration and player welfare, said matches scheduled to be broadcast cannot be changed at short notice.
“Saturdays aren’t as popular with the majority of supporters – or with provincial councils because the gate receipts are correspondingly lower and so we agree compensation for those games fixed for Saturday.
“We can’t at short notice tell provinces their fixtures aren’t going to be televised and therefore not compensated just because an unexpected replay has cropped up.
“There are some Saturdays which have no games scheduled and we would normally show flexibility on those,” he added, “but this weekend isn’t one of those.”
The process by which matches are chosen for broadcast involves the senior rights holder, RTÉ, getting first choice of 10 matches, which includes all of the All-Ireland semi-finals and finals as well as half, three out of six, of the quarter-finals plus one provincial final.
TV3 then have a choice on nine fixtures, made up of the remaining three All-Ireland quarter-finals, two provincial finals, two ordinary provincial matches and two qualifiers. RTÉ then take the remaining 21 slots out of the 40 fixtures permitted to be televised by the GAA.
That figure has reduced in recent years because of concerns about the impact on club fixtures, a vital part of the revenue stream in individual counties.
According to McGill there is no validity in the complaint that hurling doesn’t get a fair share of the television slots.
“In fact, the opposite is the case. By and large the television companies prefer the hurling matches in the early stages and for instance, the Munster hurling semi-finals went quicker than similar football rounds in other provinces and we would expect the Tipperary qualifier the week after next to be snapped up.
“Hurling and, for separate reasons of demographics, Dublin matches are the most sought after. I’m afraid that for all the grumbling about this the fact is that there just aren’t enough hurling matches.”
He also revealed last Saturday’s Offaly-Waterford qualifier was available for broadcast, as no other fixtures were being screened, but no-one applied.
“I think the feeling was that with a limited number of qualifier picks they’d wait and see what came out of the draws at a later stage.”
The GAA’s broadcasting rights are up for renewal after this year and negotiations will get under way soon.
One of the conditions being considered, says McGill, is not allowing replays to be televised apart from All-Ireland finals and semi-finals.
“At present, replays are automatically included in the various packages but we’re considering not including them in the new rights deals because of concerns about how the national contract is impacting locally.
“The big events, say All-Ireland finals and semi-finals, would be shown but there’s definitely an argument to be made for curtailing replays in earlier rounds. When there’s a high profile match on the television counties have found it hard to get spectators out for their own matches and even at times you hear that club players are more attracted by the televised games and that can have an impact on the games themselves.”
The stakes for Dublin and Kilkenny became clearer with yesterday’s draw for the All-Ireland hurling qualifiers Phase Two. The losers will have home advantage against Tipperary.
Should that be Kilkenny, it would mean a fifth successive championship meeting between the counties after the All-Ireland finals of 2009-11 and last August’s disappointing semi-final.
Dublin played Tipp in this year’s league semi-final and lost by 15 points. Kilkenny played the now deposed Munster champions in the league final and beat them by three.
The other match sees Laois, who have improved steadily under Séamus Plunkett, away to Clare, who were disappointingly off the pace against Cork in Limerick on Sunday.
The counties last met in the qualifiers six years ago, with Clare winning 2-14 to 1-11.