Sport Gaelic Football

Monday 23 April 2018

Delaney calls for championship switch to Mondays and Fridays

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

TELEVISED Monday and Friday night senior championship games could be on the way as the GAA seeks to spread its big-match schedule outside the traditional weekend slots.

Leinster Council CEO Michael Delaney favours experimenting with Friday and Monday night games and believes they would be well received by the public. He also suggests that live TV coverage features a game on Saturday, as is generally the case at present, while being restricted to one game on Sunday.

"I have reservations about showing two live games on Sunday. Is it encouraging people to stay at home and take in a double bill rather than attending games? In a sense, we're competing with ourselves. There's also the negative impact that two live games is having on club activity," he said.

Delaney believes that restricting live Sunday action to one game and extending the weekend programme to Friday and Monday nights would lead to a more even spread of TV exposure.

"Monday or Friday games could only apply to games involving counties which are fairly close together, but it wouldn't be too difficult to find them in the provincial championships. Monday night would probably be the better option but Fridays could be tried on an experimental basis too.

"The public love Monday night soccer in England so it would be interesting to see how GAA supporters would react to Monday night championship action here. I think they'd love it.

"Playing some games on Fridays and/or Mondays would generate more exposure for the GAA over a longer stretch of the week and enable us to show one game on a Saturday and Sunday, which has benefits too," he said.

Delaney explained that his counterparts in the other provinces also had misgivings about the Sunday TV double-up.

There has been growing unease over the impact that two live games on Sunday -- running between 2.0 and 6.0 -- is having on attendances and on club games. Last year, the GAA cut the number of live TV games on the schedule, but the Sunday double-ups have remained.

While Delaney's suggestion will probably meet with a favourable response from the public, players may be less enamoured, on the basis that Monday or Friday night action could involve a day off work. That would lead to calls for financial compensation, which is not allowed under GAA rules as they stand.

Irish Independent

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