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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Pat Nolan

Three talking points from the weekend of GAA

On a less hectic weekend of games across the country, the broadcasting carve-up, the Cliffords' honouring their late mother and the one-sided provincial finals provided the main talking points.

GAAGO fallout rumbles on

You can generally forget about informed perspective once a debate reaches RTE’s Liveline, as happened yesterday with the GAAGO fallout today.

Tanaiste Micheal Martin has also weighed in, saying that all games should be free-to-air.

Read More: Check out our GAA section

The reality is that there has never been more Championship games available to watch live, whether via RTE, BBC or GAAGO.

RTE have 34 live games this summer while GAAGO has a further 38 exclusively, all of which can be availed of (including a watch-back option) for a reasonable €79, little more than €2 a game.

The furore has been ignited largely by the fact that there were two Munster hurling games over the past two Saturday evenings that were of a particularly high quality and which GAAGO had exclusive rights to.

Much of the outcry wreaks of entitlement. Would it be so deafening if Saturday’s Cork-Tipperary game played out along the lines of the corresponding fixture last year, which Cork won by 12 points? You can work that one out for yourself.

Perhaps the balance isn’t quite right yet in terms of what is available free-to-air or via subscription, but in the coming weeks a plethora of big hurling games will be live on RTE, including Clare-Cork and Tipperary-Limerick as the round robin stages reach their climax in both provinces.

Elderly followers of the GAA who are not tech-savvy and/or lack access to quality broadband are certainly worthy of sympathy, but the rest?

Well, if you really wanted to watch Limerick-Clare or Cork-Tipperary, there was a facility there for you to do so.

Kerry players close ranks around the Cliffords

The Kerry team stand for a minute's silence in memory of Ellen Clifford - mother of David and Paudie (©INPHO/Bryan Keane)

In hindsight, there probably should never have been any great doubt as to whether Paudie and David Clifford would line out for Kerry in the Munster final, despite it falling just a day after the death of their mother, Ellen.

It was the perfect way for them to find some solace at the height of their grief while honouring her memory, crystallised by David’s first goal, which was brilliantly laid on by Paudie.

It was notable how their Kerry teammates shielded them from the unwanted intrusion of autograph hunters and the like after the game. The GAA being what it is, that kind of support will manifest itself in all sorts of ways for the Cliffords in the coming days and weeks.

Dose of reality for provincial championships

The provincial football championships received a shot in the arm in the early rounds as there was a genuine level of intrigue around who could free themselves from the Tailteann Cup and who would be condemned to it.

But, now that we’re down to the finals, reality is biting.

Fourteen-point wins for Kerry and Galway with the Munster and Connacht finals drawing less than 25,000 between them is pretty dismal and underlines the fact that the respective provincial councils missed a trick by not affording Clare and Sligo home advantage and filling out their more intimate grounds.

Dublin most likely completing 13-in-a-row in Leinster in a cavernous Croke Park this Sunday doesn’t hold much appeal either, albeit Derry-Armagh should be engaging in Ulster.


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