Wednesday 17 January 2018

Lovely hurling! Queen gives GAA coverage royal seal of approval

GAA President Liam O’Neill said Queen Elizabeth had told him she was impressed by hurling
GAA President Liam O’Neill said Queen Elizabeth had told him she was impressed by hurling

John Fallon

SKY Sports may not be pulling massive figures but it has attracted one very high profile viewer.

Queen Elizabeth has been studying our native game – although she finds it hard to keep up.

GAA president Liam O'Neill said he was shocked when the queen told him she had watched hurling and had been impressed by it.

Mr O'Neill was one of nine guests at her majesty's table when she dined at City Hall in Belfast last week.

"I was privileged to sit at a table for lunch with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England last week – we had met before in Croke Park when she had visited – and we touched on the topic of hurling and she said 'yes', she had seen it," he said.

"She saw it on television on Sky, she said 'I'm not quite sure how I got it' but she said it was wonderful. She made a side-to-side motion with her head saying it was very fast and it was a wonderful game."

The GAA president said he was not perturbed by the low viewing figures in this country for Sky's coverage which had been reported and he insisted it did not give the full picture.

"It doesn't take into account the people looking at it in HD, I think it doesn't take into account the people in the pubs where they have Sky Sports.

"We were never that worried about the people in Ireland watching the game on Sky. It was for Britain we did the Sky deal effectively and the numbers there are standing up very well." Speaking at the launch of the 100,000 Steps for Cormac in Galway he added: "The majority of people realise it's for the good of gaelic games and it will publicise our games."

The walk, organised by former Galway All-Ireland winning captain Joe Connolly, aims to raise €100,000 for Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of suicide and self-harm. The walk is to commemorate his nephew Cormac Connolly, who died of an inoperable brain tumour three years ago at the age of 24.

Irish Independent

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