RTÉ to scale back roster of GAA pundits

Dónal Óg Cusack: Returning to RTÉ after being absent since 2015.

RTÉ TV have significantly scaled back their GAA analyst roster for the 2019 season, with a smaller core of panelists and co-commentators set to cover more games.

Although the station’s GAA coverage has jumped by 10 matches, because of the new deal involving four Allianz League games and All-Ireland senior club championship semi-finals, the decision has been made to whittle down the number of pundits.

While Dónal Óg Cusack and Kevin McStay are set to return to screens after being absent since 2015, Liam Sheedy has stepped away from punditry to become Tipperary hurling manager and Eddie Brennan is in charge of Laois hurlers.

However, more are to fall by the wayside, though Anthony Daly and Derek McGrath are in place for the coming year.

The same applies in football, where some familiar faces won’t be returning, either making the switch to radio or not being retained. The trio of Joe Brolly, Colm O’Rourke and Pat Spillane is expected to be at least broken up. Apart from Spillane’s spell as Sunday Game evening presenter, they have been the Sunday Game Live pundits on All-Ireland final day for several years. Tomás Ó Sé and Ciaran Whelan are set to be on board for 2019.

RTÉ has summoned its pundits to Dublin on Saturday to discuss the year ahead.

As she takes over from Michael Lyster as The Sunday Game Live presenter this summer, Joanne Cantwell is expected to front the Allianz League Sunday highlights programme from January 27.

RTÉ will begin their simulcast coverage of the Allianz League with Eir Sport, beginning with the meeting of All-Ireland champions Limerick and Tipperary on Saturday, February 2, before the two broadcasters show the Kerry-Dublin clash in Austin Stack Park seven days later. The Dublin-Mayo February 23 clash in Croke Park has also been mentioned as another game RTÉ will televise.

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