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.”

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