Sky deal under microscope
All eyes turn to Nowlan Park as GAA begin new TV partnership
The first big test of public reaction to the GAA's controversial link-up with a subscription channel arrives this evening when Sky Sports screens its first live action from Nowlan Park, where Kilkenny play Offaly in the Leinster hurling quarter-final (7.0).
The GAA came in for criticism when they announced earlier this year that Sky were to join RTE as rights holders for All-Ireland championship coverage. It now remains to be seen how Sky deliver on what is new venture for the channel.
They come aboard at the start of the busiest championship weekend so far, with six football and two hurling game on the schedule. RTE's live coverage tomorrow features the Roscommon-Mayo Connacht semi-final in Dr Hyde Park (2.0) and the Dublin v Laois Leinster football quarter-final in Croke Park (4.0).
It's a hugely significant weekend as both the All-Ireland football (Dublin) and hurling (Kilkenny) favourites begin their campaigns.
Dublin are well clear of the rest of the field on the odds lists, while, despite being eliminated in the quarter-final last year, Kilkenny are rated No 1 ahead of defending champions, Clare who begin their title defence tomorrow week.
Their opponents will be decided tomorrow when Cork and Waterford replay in Thurles (3.30).
Last year's All-Ireland football runners-up, Mayo, begin their quest for a fourth successive Connacht title against a Roscommon team that showed big improvement when winning promotion out of Division 3 in April.
Kildare and Louth, who tumbled out of Divisions 1 and 2 respectively, open the action in Croke Park tomorrow (2.0)
Longford and Wexford meet for the third time in three seasons in Longford this evening (7.0) in the Leinster football quarter-final, while a Munster semi-final meeting with Kerry is the prize for the winners of the Clare v Waterford clash in Ennis (7.0).
Armagh host Cavan in the Ulster quarter-final in the Athletic Grounds tomorrow (4.0), with the winners taking on Monaghan or Tyrone in the semi-final on June 28.
Croke Park hosts a hurling treble-header today for the Lory Meagher (12.0), Nicky Rackard (2.0) and Christy Ring (4.0) finals.