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fear of media damaging profile of gaelic games

MANY counties tend to regard the media as an irritating intrusion, except of course when it comes to seeking publicity for what they want highlighted.

It never seems to occur to them that, at a time when international sports are on TV virtually all the time, it might not be a bad idea to promote the national games as much as possible.

Long gone are the days when players were readily available for interview. Now it's all about the stage-managed media session where the manager, accompanied by a few players, turns up to offer lightweight responses to even the most basic questions. Suffice to say, interesting insights are rare.

Now there's a new phenomenon – the early-bird media night. Donegal, who open their All-Ireland title defence on May 26, have arranged their press session for 17 days earlier (May 9). What's more, they have requested details of who will be attending by May 1.

What next? A Christmas Day cut-off for pre-league interviews?

We're not picking on Donegal but merely using them as an example of the bizarre approach to promotion that now exists among counties.

CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE

We have to get off the soap box after all four of the teams involved in the hurling league semi-finals lined out with exactly the same starting 15 they had named in the programme and to the media in the previous 48 hours, albeit with a few positional switches.

We've long argued against the practice of managers naming dummy teams. It doesn't fool the opposition and, worse, frustrates the press and punters, especially those who shell out money for programmes. We reckon what happened last Sunday was historic, so kudos are due to the Kilkenny, Galway, Tipp and Dublin managements for naming correct teams. Let's hope others follow suit.

TONY GREALISH RIP

It was with sadness we learned about the passing of former Republic of Ireland soccer international Tony Grealish, who holds a unique place in GAA history.

Born in London to Irish parents, Grealish was a member of the St Gabriel's club – who contested last February's All-Ireland club IHC final against Clara of Kilkenny at Croke Park.

He played Gaelic football at Wembley with London before returning to the famous stadium to captain Brighton against Manchester United in the 1983 FA Cup final. May he rest in peace.

Irish Independent