No place to Hyde for Taoiseach
Published 15/07/2011 | 05:00
PLAYING at home is always regarded as an advantage, so Roscommon are happy to have it for Sunday's Connacht football final with Mayo.
Still, Dr Hyde Park is a lovely ground so the Mayo players won't see it as a major obstacle to their ambitions.
However, one Mayo man who definitely won't be happy that the rota ordains that Roscommon and Mayo meet in 'The Hyde' in a Connacht final for the first time in 10 years is Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Job permitting, he attends most Mayo games and certainly doesn't miss Connacht finals.
Normally, he would enjoy a trip to Roscommon for the west's big day but it's not exactly his happiest hunting ground right now as the temperature continues to soar over the local hospital row.
So what's a Taoiseach to do? Run the gauntlet of an angry local community or stay away, watch the game on TV and stand accused of cowardice?
Sounds like a case of damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Welcome to the hot seat, Enda.
'Ruislip' boost gaa across the water
GAA fans will no doubt have been surprised to turn on Sky Sports News last Sunday morning to see a highlights package of London v Waterford in the football qualifiers.
The Exiles' run this summer prompted a bit of interest from the London sports media, not least the confused Cockney commentator who recently told one Irish radio station that he intended popping down to "see this Ruislip team in action".
Setanta owns the international rights to the GAA but were agreeable to Sky carrying some footage from last Saturday night, which gave the game massive exposure on the satellite giant.
But Sky quickly learned the difference between the GAA and some of the professional sports they regularly over-hype.
After the game in Ruislip (that's the venue lads, not the team name) a Sky employee approached an experienced GAA sportswriter wondering where he could obtain a "stats sheet" from! We presume he was promptly offered the only 'stat' that mattered: Waterford 1-17 London 0-13.
Classic hurling final pulls in the viewers
We're deeply suspicious of all viewing and listenership figures offered by broadcasters on the grounds that since they're designed to show "what creative boys and girls we really are" they are always going to be hyped to the edge of credibility -- or maybe even beyond.
Still, the GAA will be happy to note that the All-Ireland hurling (second place) and football (10th place) finals featured on the Top 10 most viewed programmes last year.
Football usually beats hurling but not in 2010 when Tipperary v Kilkenny (970,000) drew 200,000 more viewers than Cork v Down.
It's claimed that 1.24 million people watched the final minute of the hurling final where Tipperary wrecked Kilkenny's five-in-a-row dream.
Kilkenny and Tipperary must win All-Ireland semi-finals if they are to meet for a third successive season in September but, if it happens, the one million viewing figure looks certain to be broken.