Hurling replay will be televised if fire conditions met

RTÉ are committed to a live telecast of the Waterford/Limerick Guinness Munster SHC semi-final replay in Thurles next Saturday evening.

That is provided there is a successful resolution today to the problems which led to the Chief Fire Officer for Tipperary going to the High Court to keep the cameras away from both stands on Sunday.

It emerged yesterday the fire officer’s concern was safety of media personnel in the facility provided in the roof of the new stand in the event of a fire.

The second semi-final in Semple Stadium on Sunday between Cork and Clare is already earmarked for coverage as part of the double-fixture on the RTÉ schedule on Sunday. The other game on the programme is the Connacht football semi-final between Mayo and Sligo.

In the meantime, Sunday Game executives are examining alternative fixtures in the event of the ban on cameras in Thurles staying in force. The Meath/Westmeath Leinster football replay in Portlaoise looks the most likely option at this stage, instead of one of the games in the first-round of the qualifier series.

A meeting will take place in Thurles this morning involving the Chief Fire Officer, Munster officials, their consulting engineers and safety officer, along with representatives of the Stadium Committee.

Bill Lalor, executive producer of the Sunday Game, shares the concern of Munster chairman Christy Cooney that the inability to show Sunday’s drawn game in Thurles represented a significant loss to the GAA in terms of promoting hurling: “I just hope that they can work it out for the replay and for the Cork/Clare semi-final. “Otherwise, more than half of Munster’s hurling programme will be lost to television and viewers without tickets won’t have the benefit of seeing the games. Obviously the big loser would be hurling and the promotion of the game.’’ Lalor confirmed that RTÉ would wish to show the Waterford/Limerick replay on Saturday evening in preference to a football qualifier game, but, if there is no change in the situation in Thurles, they would more than likely opt for the Westmeath/Meath replay.

At this stage he could not say what the plans would be for Sunday if the Cork/Clare game is lost. An obvious alternative would be the second of the Leinster hurling semi-finals between Wexford and Offaly in Nowlan Park. However, this would depend on the Leinster Council and Croke Park officials agreeing to a live telecast.

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