Peter McNamara on the high praise for Galway and why the clash of Tyrone and Monaghan not being televised is not right.
Listening to the Racing Post GAA podcast presented by David Jennings, posted at the weekend, it was noticeable how bullish Joe Sheridan was regarding Galway’s chances of winning the All-Ireland SFC.
Sheridan, the former Meath attacker, spoke glowingly about Kevin Walsh’s side and gives them a genuine shot at replacing Dublin at the head of footballing affairs.
“I really fancy Galway this year,” Sheridan stated. “I think they have really come. Their players are really stepping up to the plate, especially Damien Comer and these boys.
“If Shane Walsh can come back to some sort of form from his first year, and start bringing that into the championship this year, I think they have two of the best footballers in the country.
“Obviously Dublin are the best team in the country. But with Diarmuid Connolly not around and the likes of Con O’Callaghan talking about going hurling as well, Bernard Brogan out, Paul Flynn and Philly McMahon, two serious athletes but that are both another year on, do they still have the drive and will to win this year?
“It will be hard, obviously, but I just fancy Galway.”
A very, very brave shout from Sheridan. I think, from next year onwards, Dublin might be more vulnerable than they are currently.
There is still plenty enough about Jim Gavin’s outfit to confidently predict they will retain Sam Maguire.
The squad is freshened up since last season and there is no panel in Ireland with the depth of quality they possess.
Ex-Tyrone star Enda McGinley, writing in his Irish News column, has outlined how he is finding it difficult to fathom that the Ulster SFC quarter-final between Tyrone and Monaghan will not be broadcast live on TV.
The meeting of the two Ulster titans next Sunday week is one of the most eagerly-awaited games of the championship, but will not be shown live on RTÉ, Sky Sports or BBC. After broadcasting seven Ulster SFC games in 2017, RTÉ will show just two live this summer, opting instead to show more games from the revised Munster SHC and the Super 8s.
"In this day and age, to have a game like Tyrone v Monaghan, which will surely sell out the 19,000-odd capacity of Healy Park, not covered on TV seems absurd. Supporters, TV companies, provincial and county boards and the players and teams themselves would all benefit," McGinley stated.
"For the Ulster Council themselves, it must be frustrating that having proven to be the reason for maintaining the increasingly maligned provincial structure (along with the Munster SHC), it is essentially cast aside from TV coverage because of the arrival of the Super 8s."
McGinley is dead right. How is this particular match not available to view live for anybody that will not be present in Omagh?
In instances such as this, should there be provisions in place so that TG4 has the option of showing a game of this magnitude?
TG4 contribute so much to our national games that surely the GAA should consider some deal that the station even gets to show the game online, if broadcasting rights issues negates the possibility of them being allowed to show it on TV?
Regardless, football fans are missing out on what is potentially going to be one of the contests of the summer. And, frankly, that is not right.
Of course, the GAA cannot be blamed completely for this. Not at all.
However, surely somebody involved in all these negotiations whereby the TV listings for the summer are decided would have ensured, somewhere along the line, that one of the broadcasters showed this encounter from Healy Park?
In fairness, it is not as if there is the concern of saturation. The championship lasts for a few months of the whole year. It is more live games we want.
Certainly, people of this island should have as many choices as they wish in terms of what games they decide to watch.
Yes, of course, there is nothing stopping anybody that pushed about wanting to see this match from trying to acquire a ticket.
Yet, what about the people in football strongholds in the Munster region, or any other region south of the border whereby travelling to the game is not a realistic option for most people?
Furthermore, is there any reason, in this day and age, that every GAA supporter cannot have their interests met?
There are cameras at every venue in the country for championship clashes.
Should there be a Red Button option introduced for those with Sky subscriptions, for example, in which the broadcasters give you the option of watching whichever game suits you most?
And for those that do not have Sky subscriptions, that the games not shown live on terrestrial TV are streamed live online instead?
Obviously, not everybody in the land will be able to enjoy that advantage.
However, most people would. And most people is a whole lot more than can presently.
Say, for instance, a person of any age is sick but is from a county whose match is not one of the chosen few broadcast live over a given weekend.
Is it right that person, in 2018, does not then have the option of watching that particular game just because they are too poorly to venture to the ground the game is being played?
The GAA themselves could even broadcast these matches on their website.
Give everybody options.