Saturday 20 January 2018

Will Jamesie O'Connor be the Gary Neville of GAA?

From left: Sky Sports presenter Brian Carney with hurling analysts Jamesie O’Connor and Ollie Canning, and GAA anchor Rachel Wyse
From left: Sky Sports presenter Brian Carney with hurling analysts Jamesie O’Connor and Ollie Canning, and GAA anchor Rachel Wyse
Colin Fennelly in action for Kilkenny in yesterday’s televised game on Sky. Photo: Ray McManus/
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

SKY Sports GAA anchor Rachel Wyse spoke of her delight following the station's Gaelic games debut at the weekend.

A much anticipated and heated topic, Sky's broadcast of Kilkenny's Leinster hurling championship win over Offaly went down well on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Speaking yesterday, Irish Independent columnist Wyse said: "It was great to be part of GAA broadcasting history on Saturday and I'm very pleased to hear viewers enjoyed it. I think our coverage is off to a good start and we're looking forward to the rest of the season."

The station was also pleased with how the first broadcast went; saying that they felt it was an extremely positive start to their GAA coverage.

The standard of the analysis is said to have struck a chord with the top brass at Sky, with Jamesie O'Connor's scrutiny and jocular nature deemed to have gone down particularly well.

O'Connor joked about the late arrivals into Nowlan Park for the fixture, saying that in his role as a teacher, he would not have tolerated such tardiness.

The pundit used Sky's infamous 'Sky-pad' to highlight individual spectators coming in, remarking: "Late. Late. Late."

Many fans took to Twitter to label the Clare man as the GAA's equivalent to Sky's much-respected soccer analyst Gary Neville, while the Banner native's dress sense was compared to Jamie Redknapp's.

The coverage went down just as well in the UK, with one Sky Sports News presenter labelling hurlers as "double hard" after the station played a video that explained hurling to a UK audience. Sky would not rule out using such tutorial videos again in the future, but insisted that they would be cautious because they did not want to 'dumb-down' their coverage.

On Twitter, there was a mixture of surprise and admiration among UK viewers.


Many remarked how impressed they were with the level of skill demonstrated by the players and others revealed their shock at the fact that goalkeepers were used in the sport.

One viewer in Chester asked: "Is the goalkeeper voluntary or a punishment?", while another Twitter user questioned how goalkeepers are meant to save points from flying over the bar.

Sky's coverage continues next week, taking in another Leinster hurling clash between Wexford and Dublin on Saturday.

Sky's first football fixture involves Sligo and Galway in the Connacht championship on June 21.

Irish Independent

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