People had plenty to say about Tommy Carr on yesterday’s commentary. There is an abundance of good personalities in the GAA word, but here we point out ten things that annoy us in the current media.
1. References To League Divisions During Championship
“This is a Division 1 team against a Division 3 team” and “this is the difference between Division 1 and Division 3” were two statements constantly made throughout yesterday’s game between Mayo and Tipperary.
League positions had absolutely no bearing on yesterday’s game whatsoever. Use of league positions to analyse championship games is an out-and-out waste of time. League does not equal championship. Summer is where it matters.
2. ‘The Greatest Game In The World’
This is mainly looking at hurling. Hurling people are truly over indulged in hurling at times. When played well, it could be classified as the best game in the world but it is a title that is often used too loosely.
There are some great hurling games, but there are often poor ones too. People wax lyrical as if hurling is always great and constantly played at a high quality. There have been a huge amount of poor hurling games in the last two years; a few crackers does not make it the greatest game in the world.
3. Puckout Analysyis
“I would like to put on record, it was the greatest display of puckouts ever…”
Only one man can be in question here; Donal Óg Cusack. The former Cork goalkeeper developed a reputation for himself as a hurling analyst by constantly speaking about puckouts. Puckouts can be a bigger part of a game than people think, but the extent to which they are now being analysed is ridiculous.
There are far more important parts of a game of hurling then puckouts, and quotes like the one mentioned above are over emphasising a small part of the game.
4. Dramatic Conclusion Clouds Over A Poor Game
This could almost sum up GAA in a nutshell in both hurling and football. How many times are games played out as damp squibs. Then a small deficit appears between the teams with five minutes to go, and the crowd finally starts to make noise.
Despite 65 poor minutes, the game automatically becomes a cracker. Kilkenny v Galway in Leinster in 2014, and this year’s Ulster football final are just two examples. There are countless examples of the media making a game out to be far better than what it has been.
5. The Gospel According To …….
Nowadays a lot of people in the public seem to struggle to form their own opinions. There is little worse than somebody making an argument and repeating word-for-word what the pundits echo on the TV or radio.
Just because people are involved in the media, it does not mean they are always correct. They may be knowledgeable and watch games thoroughly but we now live in a world where what is said in the media is preached as gospel across all sports, and GAA is no different.
6. Media Crushes
It is harsh to put players in this bracket. It is not a criticism of any player, it is pointing out how there are a number of players who can do no wrong when it comes to the media. Any player who can come across well in interviews or have a reputation, good or bad, will either make very good or bad use out of the media.
These pages were accused of having a ‘media crush’ on Austin Gleeson last week, on the flip side our response would be, imagine the hype if Gleeson was winning All-Ireland’s with Kilkenny?
7. Mixing up hurlers with the same coloured helmets
Live commentary is not the easiest of jobs, but mixing up players with the same coloured helmets is not good enough. Tom Kenny was regularly mixed up with Kieran Murphy in the Cork side despite players playing at opposite ends of the field.
Joey Holden and Paul Murphy are often mixed up despite both players clearly holding the hurley differently.
A commentator should be well able to recognise any inter-county hurler these days, helmet or no helmet.
8. Kilkenny Don’t Do Tactics
They do not do any gym work, they do not use any tactics. Kilkenny just play matches in training with Brian Cody standing in the middle of the pitch with a whistle while the players beat lumps out of each other. Apparently.
People in the media watch Kilkenny live, yet still preach this level of thinking.
In fairness to Donal Óg Cusack was the first man to highlight this after last year’s All-Ireland final, but other media sources just keep saying the things that Kilkenny love to hear.
9. Man Of The Match Awards For Free Takers
There are times when this can be justified, particularly in a poor game where the free taker has the biggest bearing on a result. However, it is crazy that when somebody hasn’t seen a game live, the Man Of The Match may often not even feature in the highlights.
Free taking is important, it should not be taken for granted, but players like Cillian O’Connor and Patrick Horgan get Man Of The Match at times despite contributing little or nothing from play.
10. An Abundance Of Pundits In Agreement
The days of debate are diminishing. These days, people who spark debate are just seen as controversial or attention seeking. It may be the case, but at times but too many people agreeing in the media is incredibly boring.
Media conversations should be question-based and questions should be specific; ‘What did you make of Waterford abolishing the sweeper?’, ‘What are the key ingredients needed to beat Dublin?’, etc. This would spark better conversation and opinions would come across far more efficiently.