The Leinster Council has defended the decision for the Leinster Hurling semi-final replay to take place at 7pm on Saturday meaning that there will be no TV coverage of one of hurling’s glamour ties.
Due to the new TV rights agreement in place with the GAA, two broadcasters are unable to broadcast matches simultaneously. Sky Sports are scheduled to show the Ulster football semi-final clash between Monaghan and Armagh at 7pm and as a result another match cannot be broadcast at the same time.
RTÉ did offer to broadcast the game live on television with a 2.30pm throw in or a 5pm throw in with web only coverage. However the Leinster Council rejected the proposal calling the 2.30pm throw in “impractical.”
Leinster Council Chairman John Horan told RTE, “We’re an amateur organisation, the players involved in both teams have jobs, the supporters [are] the same and I think in due deference to Tullamore as a provincial business town, I think it would be very unfair for us to crash in on top of it on a busy Saturday afternoon with a match at 2.30.”
Horan also cited “farming work going on” as another factor in their decision not to hold the game at 2.30pm. This is despite the GAA’s decision to schedule three All-Ireland football qualifiers to take place on Saturday afternoon.
Horan also gave reasoning for not having throw in at 5pm to cater for web only coverage. “Streaming really isn’t, y’know, the answer around the country. There are areas where broadband isn’t available.”
RTÉ are unable to broadcast live television coverage at 5pm due to it’s commitment to show live coverage of the World Cup second round clash between Brazil and Chile.
RTÉ received many complaints regarding the quality of their web only coverage of the Munster quarter-final replay between Cork and Waterford however many fans have reacted badly to having no coverage at all of this game.
Horan also dismissed speculation that the move was the Council’s attempt to improve the attendance of 12,000 at last Sunday’s game in order to maximise revenue. He stated that the Leinster Council have cut prices for the replay and that they will lose out on “extra funding” from having the game transmitted live.
Peadar Breathnach, Pundit Arena.