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GAA Football

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte hits out at 'celebrity analyst soundbites'

Mickey Harte (right) has praised the punditry of the likes of Peter Canavan (left) and Jim McGuinness on Sky Sports' coverage of Gaelic football

MICKEY Harte has praised the quality of GAA analysis on Sky Sports compared to other broadcasters and hailed their concentration on quality over “soundbites” from "celebrity analysts".

RTÉ has come under fire for the quality of its coverage in recent seasons, with former Kerry captain Paul Galvin suggesting last weekend that The Sunday Game should be stood down and replaced by a completely new programme.

There have long been criticisms of the style and quality of the punditry on both the live and highlights shows.

The Sunday Game was caught in the middle of the recent storm over Diarmuid Connolly’s 12-week suspension, with accusations levelled by Dublin boss Jim Gavin that the programme had unduly influenced the CCCC’s decision to impose the suspension.

Sky Sports, however, originally highlighted the incident involving Down official Ciaran Branagan during their live broadcast of that game between Dublin and Carlow, showing several replays throughout their second half coverage.

The Tyrone manager, who has had a long-running feud with RTÉ, declined to criticise the national broadcaster when asked whether he supported Jim Gavin’s stance in refusing to speak with broadcast media after Dublin’s subsequent win over Westmeath.

But 2003, 2005 and 2008 All-Ireland winning manager did question the quality of punditry provided by broadcasters and hit out at “celebrity analysts”.

“I am sure that Jim would not need me to support him, he has done quite well on his own to date,” Harte laughed.

“He is entitled to do what he needs he thinks to do in the situation he finds himself in and I would accept that from him or anybody.

“It is a case of do we get quality analysis or do we get sound bites; that is the big difference.

“You need to be sure the people who analysing our games, some people would call them celebrity analysts, they need to be really mindful of the fact that it is not about putting someone else down to raise themselves up.

“It should be about is this insightful information we are sharing with people, is there substance behind what I am saying or does it just sound good when it is retweeted by someone who does not know much about what they read.”

Galvin, whose fellow Kerry man Pat Spillane came under fire from fellow pundits Joe Brolly and Dessie Dolan for his analysis of the Connolly incident, said in his Sunday newspaper column that The Sunday Game is “a liability to the GAA”.

He suggested that it should be taken off the air, rebranded and relaunched “with new talent in a new direction”.

“The current offering is reductive, agenda-led and has been mired in a culture of bias for 10 years,” said Galvin.

While declining to criticise RTÉ directly, Harte hinted that he much preferred watching Sky’s coverage of GAA.

“I am not going to deal with specific cases or broadcasters but what I would suggest is that there are a couple of men on another channel that I quite like listening to and one of them is heading off to China [Jim McGuinness] and the other one is here tonight [Peter Canavan] and they are very insightful.

“They really tell us something different and they don’t tell us what we have all seen after it has happened, they actually suggest things that could be done to improve it.

“They analyse the thing in specific detail and they are very good to listen to and it is not about sound bites. There is an alternative there and if people look on they can see which they would prefer to look at and to listen to.”

GAA Football

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