Queen was rather impressed with the fast and wonderful game of hurling

The viewing figures for Sky Sports’ live GAA broadcasts may be dismal, but the coverage has netted a significant new fan — British royalty.

GAA president Liam O’Neill said he was shocked when Queen Elizabeth told him she had watched hurling and had been impressed by it.

Mr O’Neill was invited to dine at the Queen’s table when she visited City Hall in Belfast last week, and was stunned when she disclosed that she had been impressed by the hurling match.

He is not sure whether she was referring to the Kilkenny-Offaly match or the clash of Dublin and Wexford, but he said it was a remarkable example of just how far Gaelic games can spread as a result of the Sky coverage.

“I was privileged to sit at a table for lunch with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England last week — we had met before in Croke Park when she had visited — and we touched [on] the topic of hurling and she said yes, she [had] seen it,” said Mr O’Neill.

“She saw it on television on Sky. She said: ‘I’m not quite sure how I got it,’ but she said it was wonderful. She made a side-to-side motion with her head saying it was very fast and it was a wonderful game.

“I’m not sure whether it was Offaly v Kilkenny or Wexford v Dublin. We didn’t go into detail on that because you can only engage her for a certain amount of time in a group of nine, but the fact of the matter is that she says she saw it and I just think it’s interesting that she did.

“I know she’s only one person but it’s interesting she was engaged by it and she said it was a wonderful game.”

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

State faces at least six lawsuits over toxic exposure claims by former Air Corps members

Compensation decision will have huge implications for landowners, say walking groups

Inspirational youngster Órán Nibbs loses fight for life

Cold water poured on lead pipe plan


Breaking Stories

Search for young man who failed to return to Clare tour bus

Woman accused of forcing another to work as prostitute alleges 3-year affair with husband

'No criminality' in misuse of funds at Garda training college: Commissioner

5 things you should know about Michelle O'Neill, the new Sinn Féin leader at Stormont

Lifestyle

It's been a long and winding road for music group Fairport Convention

We’ll have to shout ‘stop’ to non-bio plastics, or else...

The Big Book of Happiness is here

Smartphones have ushered in a golden age of personal eccentricity

More From The Irish Examiner