Cork City manager John Caulfield has urged national broadcasters to promote the League of Ireland to a greater degree.
Speaking at the SSE Aitricity League launch at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday, Caulfield cited the example of the scant coverage of Sunday’s President’s Cup in RTÉ’s news programme on Sunday night as a prime example of how the league can sometimes be overlooked relative to other sports and the Premier League:
“Sunday night’s nine o’ clock news [on RTÉ] had eight minutes of sport.
The first two-and-a-half minutes were GAA, which is very good. 30 seconds of ladies’ football then, which made it three minutes.
“A minute or so of ladies rugby, and two-and-a-half minutes about the Premiership matches. Just a four-second slide about the President’s Cup, and then another minute-and-a-half about the Winter Olympics.
“I think we all have a responsibility to talk up our league and promote it. While 27 live games is fantastic to have, at the end of the day our season is 36 league games, plus lots of cup games.
“The Monday night show is really excellent. A lot of people here work in the national broadcaster, it’s important to try to promote our league more.
“We are a professional league, we do play in Europe, and the more I go around different countries looking at the standards and the facilities, the more I look at our own league and see it’s incredible. The top teams over here are really at the top level. We need to promote our league as much as we can”
The decision not to screen last weekend’s clash – which turned out to be a highly eventful 4-2 victory for City at Oriel Park – came in for criticism from the League of Ireland football community.
At the beginning of Tuesday’s launch, FAI Director of Communications Fran Gavin and event MC Con Murphy had confirmed that there would be a total of 27 Premier Division matches to be televised this year, to be shared between RTÉ television and eir Sport.
In addition, the national broadcaster will have 37 episodes of Soccer Republic to be shown primarily on Monday evenings at the earlier time of 7pm.
For more from Tuesday’s SSE Airtricity League launch, including interviews with Liam Buckley, Ronan Finn, Shane Keegan and Ollie Horgan, listen to this week’s Mixer Irish Football Podcast, in which we also preview the new season and pay tribute to Liam Miller.