Leinster Council coffers to be swelled by TV snubbing of hurling replay

‘People are going to miss the game of the weekend in both football or hurling’ says Leinster chairman Martin Skelly

Kilkenny’s Walter Walsh battles with Dublin’s Niall Corcoran during last Sunday’s exciting drawn encounter at Portlaoise. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Kilkenny’s Walter Walsh battles with Dublin’s Niall Corcoran during last Sunday’s exciting drawn encounter at Portlaoise. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho


Leinster Council chairman Martin Skelly has expressed dismay that the GAA broadcast partners did not make any enquiry about televising Saturday’s championship hurling replay between Dublin and Kilkenny.

Skelly confirmed to The Irish Times that no approach was made from either RTÉ or TV3 despite a willingness to accommodate live television with a 5pm throw-in.

“I would have always thought that at least one of our Leinster hurling semi-finals would be worthy of (live) TV coverage,” said Skelly.

The Longford native conceded the lack of a live broadcast will swell the attendance at O’Moore Park, with a 7pm throw-in, as a significantly larger crowd than the 9,674 showing for last Sunday’s dramatic 1-14 to 0-17 draw is expected in Portlaoise.

Easy option
“It’s a double-edged sword really. If people don’t have the easy option of watching it on television they will turn up so from that point of view we won’t lose.”

In fact, they will gain in gate receipts.

Neither RTÉ nor TV3, who have a choice of nine fixtures, approached the provincial council about screening last Sunday’s draw or the eagerly anticipated replay despite the stakes being raised by the losers facing Tipperary the following weekend. Instead, RTÉ Two will show the Irish Derby from the Curragh followed immediately by the Ulster semi-final between Monaghan and Cavan.

BBC Northern Ireland are also showing the football.

“From a PR point of view you have the All-Ireland champions and one of the emerging hurling counties, which Dublin are, so there will be an awful lot of people that are disadvantaged,” Skelly continued.

“They were unable to see the drawn semi-final and now the replay so from that point of view people are going to be deprived of what I expect to be a hell of a clash on Saturday.

“People are going to miss what I possibly think will be the game of the weekend in both football or hurling.”

Skelly was asked if this is a glitch in the GAA championship broadcasting agreement, on the premise that one of the greatest ever hurling teams, playing in such an important fixture in any other sport in any other country in the world would surely be shown live on television?

“Well, that’s for the television companies to answer. Obviously last Sunday the games they wanted were the Ulster semi-final between Donegal and Down in football and Munster semi-final in hurling between Cork and Clare. And I can understand that. The Munster championship is a great competition.

“There are huge draws elsewhere this weekend but I’m not trying to make excuses. At the end of the day if they had wished to televise the game, and maybe asked for a 5pm start, like they did for last year’s Kilkenny v Dublin game, I think we would have found it very hard to turn down that request.

“We wouldn’t have been amenable to move the game to Sunday as we have a double -header and both games are being televised. That wasn’t a runner for us.”

The Leinster football semi-finals – Dublin against Kildare and Wexford versus Meath – will be shown live from by RTÉ on Sunday.

“The coverage has improved but there was some great action in Portlaoise and one camera doesn’t do justice to the intensity of the battle.

“The best thing I can say is we would have been available to sit down and talk with RTÉ or TV3. We half expected there would be a request after the excitement of the drawn game and the two teams that were in it and the county with the largest number of GAA followers, Dublin, and the All-Ireland champions.

“It’s just a huge, huge clash . . . I believe TV’s decision not to go with the game is their loss.”