Letters to the Editor: GAA pay-per-view could strengthen case for players to cash in

Former Waterford hurler John Mullane has weighed in on the GAA pay-per-view debate. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile


The GAAGO pay-per-view controversy has rumbled on for days. It is doing nobody any favours, according to hurling legends John Mullane and Eddie Brennan.

We want our kids going out after watching hurling or football matches and talking enthusiastically about great games in both codes. That is how we sow the seeds for the generations to follow in our footsteps.

We also have many people in the twilight years of their lives in our clubs across the country.

These people volunteered for decades to help improve facilities, as well as coaching and helping out with teams at all levels. They made many sacrifices to put the GAA front and centre in their communities.

They now find themselves forced to get their grandchildren to help them access our national games on the internet.

This is wrong in so many ways. I say this because pay-per-view cuts off a massive chunk of our audience and society in general. It is also unlikely to aid the promotion of our games.

There is another group of people who haven’t been mentioned in the debate so far – the players. These are the people who do all the hard yards in training for years on end.

They run the risk of injury and put their lives on hold to play the games they love to a very high standard. They provide huge entertainment for the public in the process.

It is fair to say they have a big stake in this whole scenario.

If you are going to turn around and make money on the backs of players who put in all the hard work, are they not entitled to be looked after too?

Whatever about the validity of pay-per-view, the thorny argument of pay-for-play could rear its controversial head in the not-too-distant future.

That would be a completely different ball game.

Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo

GAAGO controversy a sign that this is the silly season

I don’t understand all the hullabaloo over the GAA viewing app. Even the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Sport got in on the act. It must be the silly season.

Back in the day, I remember ‘watching’ many thrilling hurling and football games on RTÉ radio, thanks to the brilliant and vivid commentaries of Michael O’Hehir and Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh. Who needs TV?

Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely, Dublin 18

We need to acknowledge evolution of the sliotar

The changes to the sliotar in recent years have not been recognised enough. The current sliotar is lighter and clearly travels farther. A few years ago, sliotars were harder. Additionally, the rim of the ball is smaller now.

I think all these tippy-tappy short passes would be more difficult to do with the sliotar of 10 years ago. Also, players often take well over the allowable numbers of steps when running with the ball. It all adds up to this possession-based game where the ball gets worked (backwards if needed) to anywhere within 100 metres of the opponent’s goal for a shot.

The average time from a puck-out to a shot at goal is getting closer to 40 seconds. That’s over 100 puck-outs per game. Some of these changes were happening anyway, but I think the sliotar has contributed to the game of hurling moving too far in this direction.

Another result of the current sliotar is that smaller GAA pitches, many of which are in traditional football areas, are becoming unsuitable for hurling. It is now all but impossible to play hurling on soccer or rugby pitches.

I have never heard this mentioned by the disciples talking about spreading the gospel of hurling.

Sean Boyle, Co Galway

Leaving Cert class of 2024 need special consideration

I am concerned about the challenges the class of 2024 will face with the Leaving Certificate. This stems from the impact Covid-19 has had on my education ahead of sitting the exams next year. It has caused significant disruption.

I urge those in positions of influence to consider the following issues and the possible provisions that could be put in place to address them.

The pandemic has caused immense disruption, from school closures to remote learning, which have led to a big loss of learning time. This has placed an enormous burden on students, who have had to adjust to a new way of learning while dealing with the stress and anxiety that have come with it.

Pupils in previous years received provisions to address the disruptions they faced, and it is only fair that the class of 2024 get similar consideration. For example, adjustments were made surrounding the number of questions in exams and allowances were made for oral examinations too.

Unlike in previous years, we have not had the Junior Cert mock exams or the Junior Cert itself, which would go some way towards preparing a person for the Leaving Certificate. This puts us at a disadvantage, and it is essential this is taken into account.

Any provisions put in place should prioritise the mental health of students and ensure that the examination process is as stress-free as possible.

Finally, CAO points inflation over the last few years is a significant concern and will impact our college opportunities. It is imperative that the Department of Education takes steps to ensure students of the class of 2024 are not unfairly penalised due to the inflation of points.

Andrew Connell, address with editor

Unification would be crowning glory for king

I watched an hour or two of the coronation service on RTÉ last Saturday. As someone interested in history, I was curious to see for myself what was involved. It was 70 years since the previous coronation (1953, the year before I was born).

I was amazed by the pomp and ceremony of it all and the British fascination with dressing up. I know this fetish is not peculiar to the British, but they do seem to take it to another level.

I found the religious part of the service odd, in particular the anointing behind screens. Charles looked a bit uncomfortable about it all, as if he might have been wondering what he was doing there with all those grey-haired bishops around him.

There were a couple of moments when he looked like he was wishing it might all be over and done with. One couldn’t help but feel a certain sympathy for him.

I also think President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the North’s first minister designate, Michelle O’Neill, were correct to attend. It was the mannerly and neighbourly thing to do.

The whole event, with its medieval trappings and paraphernalia, also reminded us of the virtues of our own republican and egalitarian traditions.

I wish Charles and his subjects well, and I hope he is the one who finally relinquishes his oldest colony by agreeing to the unification of Ireland. If that turns out to be the case, it will be a fitting legacy to his reign.

John Glennon, Hollywood, Co Wicklow

Eurovision needs to dial down the special effects

It is a bad idea to do something just because it has become possible to do it. The Eurovision is a classic example. All sorts of flashing lights and effects dominate and overwhelm the singers and the songs. It is time to turn the clock back technically.

Brendan Casserly, Cork city

Time is right for Irish character to join ‘Sesame Street’

I was thrilled to see that TJ has been introduced as the first-ever Filipino character on Sesame Street.

The show has been running for 53 years and prides itself on reflecting changing attitudes to developmental psychology, early childhood education and cultural diversity.

However, I still don’t see a Paddy Joe (PJ) on this list. The last time they tested the idea of an Irish character, as far as I remember, the Swedish chef represented him by singing Danny Boy. There seemed to have been a few whiskeys involved and the Muppets got in trouble for cultural stereotyping.

Maybe the time is right for one of our own lads to officially represent us on Sesame Street. ​

David O’Reilly, Eyre Square, Galway