independent

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Sad day if GAA faithful pay to see matches on TV

Published 02/04/2014 | 05:36

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Sir, Imagine faithful Kerry GAA supporters in their twilight years, who have attended many Munster football finals and now, in these hard times, having to pay for Sky Sports to view their heroes.

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In their prime they would have attended most games involving the Kerry football team, with trips to Killarney, Cork and Croke Park. Now it is physically impossible because of old age and failing health, so they look forward to watching the games on television.

Does it matter to the hierarchy in Croke Park if their dwindling pensions are further reduced by forking out a subscription to a foreign sports channel to continue their interest in Gaelic football and hurling?

Some of these supporters toiled on the field as players and mentors, helping youngsters develop their skills. But that could count for nothing now.

It seems that, once again, society is not as important as making money. Will the pub be the provider of provincial finals for many in the future?

Setanta Sports were given the rights to broadcast night-time games in the National League in recent years; the thin end of the wedge, it now seems. Would Sky Sports be happy with broadcasting a dozen or so games or would a desire to corner the market eventually mean a bigger share for them?

I hope many former players will make their voices heard and come out against this plan. The GPA should have something to say, after all their members are providing the entertainment. Will they, rightly, want a return for these 'amateur' athletes who spend hard hours training and playing in these wonderful spectacles. The Church and the State appear to have fallen from grace in our lifetimes. It seem the GAA will finally take the plunge as well.

How many volunteers who spend their Saturdays training under-age boys and girls for no reward will be willing to continue doing so? The goodwill freely given by teachers for decades in our schools has been undermined by a government intent on crucifying them at every hands turn. Would this decision by Croke Park finish off their willingness to give their time for free?

How society has changed for the worse in recent times; it seems people are just a commodity!

Sincerely,

Gerry Cournane,

Tralee.

Kerryman

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