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Friday 22 June 2018

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'You can't have only two games in Ulster on TV' - Tyrone-Monaghan cracker highlights big issue with GAA rights deal

20 May 2018; Conor Meyler of Tyrone in action against Dessie Mone of Monaghan during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Tyrone and Monaghan at Healy Park in Tyrone. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
20 May 2018; Conor Meyler of Tyrone in action against Dessie Mone of Monaghan during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Tyrone and Monaghan at Healy Park in Tyrone. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Monaghan and Tyrone played out the game of the football championship so far in Omagh yesterday but unless you were in Healy Park, you had to wait for deferred coverage or highlights to enjoy the action.

The clash between two Division One heavyweights was the first major TV casualty of the expanded championships in 2018. With the Super 8s replacing the football quarter-finals and round robin provincial championships in hurling, the number of overall matches has ballooned.

However, the GAA has neglected to allow RTE or Sky to show more games, which has made for some tough decisions for the broadcasters.

Naturally, both have opted to screen as many Super 8 game as possible later in the championship as well as the majority of Munster hurling matches, which has put a squeeze on provincial football.

Only three provincial football games will be televised this year, outside of the provincial finals, which is a dramatic reduction from previous years.

Speaking on The Throw-In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast, former Monaghan midfielder Dick Clerin, who was on duty at Healy Park with BBC for their deferred coverage, weighed in on the matter.

Many fans have been left frustrated by the decision to show the same amount of games as last year and while Clerkin broadly agrees, he also thinks there has been a 'bit of hypocrisy' in the reaction.

"You can't get away from the fact that the game yesterday, in an ideal world, should have been exposed to as many people as possible," Clerkin said.

"In terms of the changes to the All-Ireland format, perhaps nobody had looked far enough ahead to see that with the changes in the format, the rights fees and the number of games shown. You don't just plan overnight to reissue rights packages for games. That's something you don't do on a whim because a few people give out the week before a game.

"But take a step back from this, people are complaining that the good games are not being shown. Nobody is crying that Waterford vs Tipperary wasn't shown. People want to see the big games and that is the exact approach that RTE and Sky have taken. They have chosen the big games at the end of the season and there is a bit of hypocrisy around it as well. Nobody cares for the lesser games, and that is the approach that the TV stations have taken. These are the games that everyone wants to see, and we are going to show them.

"What you want is to extend the rights package but that needed to be done a lot further back in the year so maybe just a planning issue because you can't have only two provincial games in Ulster [on TV]."

Neither Munster football semi-final  or Connacht semi-final will be televised, with Monaghan vs Fermanagh in the Ulster semi-final, and one Leinster semi-final (likely to feature Dublin) the two remaining provincial football games that will be screened before the finals.

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