Dara Ó Cinnéide disappointed at the end of Seó Spóirt on TG4

‘I disagree with it, they feel the days of sitting on a couch analysing games is gone,’ he said

John Allen, Aoife Ní Chonchúir & Michael Rice with Dara Ó Cinnéide on Seó Spóirt on TG4. Photo: Seó Spóirt TG4 Twitter

John Allen, Aoife Ní Chonchúir & Michael Rice with Dara Ó Cinnéide on Seó Spóirt on TG4. Photo: Seó Spóirt TG4 Twitter

 

The popular TG4 programme Seó Spóirt is to be cancelled, with the current series finishing up at the end of the Allianz Leagues in April. The decision to get rid of the Friday night weekend preview show, now in its 11th year, has been taken by recently-installed TG4 chief executive Alan Esslemont and was communicated to the production team including presenter Dara Ó Cinnéide last Friday.

“I am disappointed,” says Ó Cinnéide. “I get it and I understand the rationale behind it from his point of view. I disagree with it, but there you go. This is the last season of it, it will be going until the end of the league and that will be that.

“They’ve appointed a new CÉO and his whole vision doesn’t include studio programmes. He feels that the day of sitting on the couch analysing games is gone. I said I wouldn’t agree but go ahead. He’s getting rid of it and a few other studio-based programmes, keeping just news and current affairs.

“It may mutate into something else and he was definitely very positive in saying he didn’t want to lose me and let’s see what else we can come up with. But for him, the format doesn’t work.”

Seó Spóirt started as a 20-minute discussion show in 2007 but has grown in the decade since to take up a full hour on Friday nights. Primarily GAA-based programme talking through the games from the upcoming weekend, it has broadened in recent years to take in other sports as well.

Regular guests include Ger Loughnane, Tomás Ó Sé, Dónal O’Grady, Gary Brennan, Seán Bán Breathnach and others. It was presented for the first two years of its run by Micheál Ó Domhnaill, TG4’s anchor for their GAA coverage. Ó Cinnéide joined in 2009.

“I was disappointed to be honest,” says the former Kerry captain and three-time All-Ireland winner. “His rationale behind the decision is his own strategy and vision for the station. I have no problem on a personal level.

“I tried to make my case and told him I thought he was under-estimating the appetite of the GAA community, regardless of the language it’s broadcast in. I don’t have hard data, only anecdotal stuff, but no end of people who have said to me over years that they like the show and that they watch the show. I was arguing that I thought we had built up a decent brand at this stage. I don’t take it personally, it’s the nature of the game.”

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