The Sunday Game is back this weekend but if you’re expecting to see a live game in the hurling or football championship, you may take a rain check. That’s not because there aren’t GAA games going ahead across the country because there are, and plenty of them. In fact, there was a double header in Portlaoise on Saturday to launch the Leinster football championship and there is more football and hurling action today. Yet the national broadcaster and Sky Sports have deemed them unworthy of live coverage despite the highlights show going ahead on Sunday night.
Antrim and Fermanagh play one of only two football championship games on Sunday but unsurprisingly, they haven’t been chosen as one of the 31 live games to be shown this year, while Longford and Offaly haven’t hit the jackpot either with regards to live television coverage. I would sincerely doubt that anyone within these camps are struck down with shock at the news but it smacks of disrespect at best and outright dismissal at worst.
I’m a life-long, plan my weekend/summer/life around the matches kind of person but even I’m getting jaded of seeing the same teams on television all the time. Obviously the more successful teams are going to have more games broadcast as they progress through the Championship but the early stages of the summer provide more opportunity for equality in terms of coverage or at least one would think so.
I recently wrote about the upcoming Leinster football championship and how the media focus on Dublin takes centre stage at the expense of the other counties within the competition but this week has surely proved beyond doubt just how silly it’s all getting. The provincial championship is starting in Leinster this weekend with Louth taking on Carlow, Laois doing battle with Wicklow while Offaly and Longford go head to head on Sunday.
Yet what was the main story of the week?
Dublin have a new jersey.
The navy has been replaced by white on the jersey.
The media seemed genuinely excited by this development and unless you were living under a stone or more likely, hiding under a stone, this was the story that occupied your news feed on Thursday.
This isn’t an anti-Dublin rant either as they have no say in what people say or write about them. It’s the fact that people cannot seem to have a conversation about gaelic football anyone without talking about who, if anyone can beat the Dubs.
Inter county managers, past and present, are queuing up to have their say on who can achieve the seemingly unachievable. Unsurprisingly, nobody is picking their own county. Mind games aside, we’re in danger of creating an invincible aura around Dublin, much like the one accredited to the Kilkenny hurlers in recent times. Teams like Waterford, Tipperary and Galway have shown that self-belief is crucial when coming up against a team like Kilkenny and believing that you can win is necessary in order to win.
Some of the newspapers this weekend have found it almost impossible to discuss this weekend’s GAA games without making reference to Dublin while others have adopted a patronising, ‘sure aren’t they only great for trying’ perspective when discussing these counties.
This invincible aura surrounding Dublin is aided by the complete lack of coverage afforded to these other counties. Why couldn’t Carlow and Louth or Wicklow and Laois have been broadcast on Saturday evening? Longford and Offaly would have made for intriguing viewing on Sunday afternoon. Instead, there’s no match being broadcast live but rather a cursory glance in their direction on Sunday night.
Regardless of how much or how little these teams play or win this year, they deserve better than this and as life-long, plan the weekend/summer/life around the matches, so do all of us.