Thursday 25 May 2017

Declan Lynch: RTE drops the ball when it comes to sports coverage

Errors of fact, style and judgement reveal RTE's struggle to respect 'The Truth', writes Declan Lynch

The longest career in sports broadcasting in the world will end next Sunday on RTE radio, when Sean Og O Ceallachain reads out the day's GAA results for the last time. To be doing anything involving names and numbers at the age of 88 is an achievement in itself, and to be doing it in public is even more remarkable.

In a business seething with twisted rivalries and warped ambitions, perhaps Sean Og was lucky that his obscure late-night slot was not perceived by young bucks as a suitable platform from which to launch their RTE careers. And he is probably the only sports journalist in Irish history who has been entirely sober every Sunday night for the last 63 years.

But there is perhaps another reason for the sense of continuity which has prevailed here. There is a certain solemnity in the reading of the day's sports results, a fact recognised most famously by the BBC, which turned the reading of the football results on Saturdays into a national ritual of some profundity, with the same voice rising and falling in those deeply familiar rhythms -- "Brighton and Hove Albion 3, Swindon Town 2."

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