Sky Sports names its star line-up for GAA coverage
THE faces of Sky Sports GAA coverage have promised a brand new approach to analysing our national game.
The commercial broadcaster yesterday revealed the line-up for its inaugural season of GAA coverage – and has opted for a tried-and-tested approach, with all the pundits, presenters and commentators having previous on-air experience.
All four football and hurling pundits previously worked with TV3. Former Tyrone captain Peter Canavan has been announced as lead football analyst alongside 1985 All-Star Paul Earley.
In hurling, Jamsie O'Connor is lead analyst with former Tipperary player and manager Nicky English in a co-commentary role.
Unsurprisingly, Sky News anchor and Irish Independent columnist Rachel Wyse was confirmed as a presenter. However, the appointment of rugby league ex-pro Brian Carney did come as a surprise.
Mike Finnerty and Dave McIntyre, announced as Sky's commentators covering both football and hurling, come directly from the same role with TV3.
Speaking at the unveiling in Croke Park yesterday, Sky Sports director of production Steve Smith said the station's coverage would be based from studios on-site at grounds around the country.
He said that the station had already examined a number of grounds and said the reaction had been "very positive" so far.
The GAA was heavily criticised when it announced the decision to sell rights to a foreign pay-per-view broadcaster earlier this year.
Mr Smith said the game would be treated with "respect" by the broadcaster.
"We understand what Gaelic games mean to the people of Ireland and we're going to treat it with respect," he told the Irish Independent.
Ms Wyse said Sky's coverage would be as good as anything RTE would produce.
"The coverage is going to have a Sky Sports feel to it – and I think people watch Sky Sports because they want to see the best coverage, the best camera angles."
'Sunday Independent' columnist Jamsie O'Connor will make his first appearance in his new role when Kilkenny take on Offaly on June 7. He said Sky's coverage would allow for a "new kind" of punditry.
"The hope would be we can marry the best of what Sky do and the technologies they've got and bring it to the GAA audience," he told the Irish Independent.