GAA Football

Tyrone-Monaghan clash set for live TV blackout

The hotly-anticipated Ulster SFC meeting of Tyrone and Monaghan will not be shown live on TV, The Irish News understands.

NEXT month's high-profile Ulster SFC clash between Monaghan and Tyrone will not be televised live, The Irish News understands.

The meeting of two of the country's top six teams has been eagerly anticipated since the draw was made at the end of last year, even more so in light of the fine league campaign enjoyed by Malachy O'Rourke's side.

But there is now likely to be a ticket scramble for a spot in the 18,500-capacity Healy Park on May 20, with none of RTÉ, Sky Sports or BBC NI set to broadcast the game live, with the latter set to broadcast full deferred coverage of the game that evening.

The live coverage of this year's Ulster championship will be cut back drastically on the whole. Having broadcast seven of its eight games live last year, RTÉ are set to show just two live games in the province this summer.

The Irish News understands that alongside the Ulster final on June 24, RTÉ will only show the first Ulster semi-final between Armagh/Fermanagh and Tyrone/Monaghan, which takes place on June 3. Both games will also be live on BBC NI.

The provincial round meeting of Donegal and Cavan, all four quarter-finals and the second semi-final are set to be ignored by the primary rights holders amid a greatly condensed championship programme.

An additional eight games in the football championship, all of them at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage, and a further five games in hurling brings the number of games in total to 87.

The revamp of the hurling championship's structure, with a greater volume of games in the Munster and Leinster championships at the expense of the qualifiers, will pique greater interest in the provincial series', especially given how wide-open the race for the Liam McCarthy Cup looks.

But the GAA's decision to only allow the usual 45 live games across the season (31 on RTÉ and 14 on Sky Sports) means that the broadcasters have had to be more picky than usual.

Sky Sports have seemingly indicated that they are keen to focus on the latter stages of the All-Ireland series, although The Irish News understands they will still be contractually obliged to show a certain number of games from the earlier rounds.

In all, there will be 22 games in the latter part of the All-Ireland series' across both codes, and not all of them will be broadcast live.

For example, on the final weekend of the football round-robin quarter-finals, games will have to throw-in at the same time to avoid an unfair competitive advantage being handed to any of the teams involved. That will automatically mean certain games will not be televised.

The first four of those round-robin games also take place on the weekend of July 14/15, and with the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals set for July 15 (on which date the World Cup final will also take place at 4pm), there will inevitably be big games that will not be broadcast live that weekend.

The condensed schedule has also left no wiggle room for BBC NI, who are only able to broadcast games live when they are in direct partnership with RTÉ.

A resistance on the GAA's behalf towards relaxing the rule that prohibits two broadcasters showing games at the same time has meant inevitable clashes of big games.

That has been a cornerstone of their contractual negotiations in recent years, and falls into line with other major sporting organisations including soccer's English Premier League, where broadcasters cannot show games in direct competition with each other, or at 3pm on Saturdays for fear of the impact on attendances at games.

Mayo's eagerly awaited tie with National League finalists Galway takes place at 4pm on May 13, the same time as Donegal meet Cavan in the Ulster preliminary round, meaning that live television coverage for the latter was never an option.

Tyrone's game with Monaghan goes directly up against Clare's meeting with Cork in the Munster SHC, though it remains to be seen whether Sky Sports have chosen to broadcast the hurling tie instead, or ignore both in favour of games later in the year.

June 10 sees two Munster SHC games throw-in at the same time, with Limerick v Waterford and Tipperary v Clare both at 2pm. On the same day, the second Ulster SFC semi-final and the second Leinster SFC semi-final, most likely involving Dublin, will both throw-in at 4pm.

Moving the Munster football final forward to the evening of Saturday, June 23 ensures that there are no provincial final clashes, with rights for all six expected remain in RTÉ's possession.

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2018 Championship fixtures

May 6th

Connacht SFC: London v Sligo (3.30pm)

Connacht SFC: Leitrim v New York (7.15pm)

May 12th

Leinster SFC: Laois v Wexford (6.30pm)

Leinster SHC: Offaly v Galway (7pm)

May 13th

Leinster SHC: Dublin v Kilkenny (2pm)

Leinster SFC: Louth v Carlow (2pm)

Connacht SFC: Mayo v Galway (4pm)

Ulster SFC: Donegal v Cavan (4pm)

Leinster SFC: Offaly v Wicklow (4pm)

May 19th

Ulster SFC: Fermanagh v Armagh (7pm)

Munster SFC: Clare v Limerick (7pm)

Munster SFC: Tipperary v Waterford (7pm)

May 20th

Munster SHC: Limerick v Tipperary (2pm)

Munster SHC: Cork v Clare (4pm)

Leinster SHC: Kilkenny v Offaly (3pm)

Leinster SHC: Wexford v Dublin (3pm)

Ulster SFC: Tyrone v Monaghan (4pm)

May 26th

Leinster SFC: Laois/Wexford v Westmeath (5pm)

Ulster SFC: Down v Antrim (7pm)

Connacht SFC: Leitrim/NY v Roscommon (7pm)

Leinster SHC: Offaly v Wexford (7pm)

May 26/27th

Leinster SFC: Louth/Carlow v Kildare

Leinster SFC: Offaly/Wicklow v Dublin

May 27th

Munster SHC: Tipperary v Cork (2pm)

Leinster SFC: Longford v Meath (3pm)

Munster SHC: Clare v Waterford (3.30pm)

Ulster SFC: Donegal/Cavan v Derry (4pm)

Leinster SHC: Galway v Kilkenny (4pm)

June 2nd

Munster SHC: Cork v Limerick (7pm)

Leinster SHC: Wexford v Galway (5pm)

June 2/3rd

Munster SFC: Tipperary/Waterford v Cork (TBC)

June 3rd

Ulster SFC: Fermanagh/Armagh v Tyrone/Monaghan (2pm)

Leinster SHC: Dublin v Offaly (3pm)

Munster SFC: Clare/Limerick v Kerry (3.30pm)

Connacht SFC: Mayo/Galway v Sligo/London (3.30pm)

Munster SHC: Waterford v Tipperary (4pm)

June 9th

Leinster SHC: Kilkenny v Wexford (7pm)

Leinster SHC: Galway v Dublin (7pm)

June 10th

Munster SHC: Limerick v Waterford (2pm)

Munster SHC: Tipperary v Clare (2pm)

Leinster SFC: Laois/Wexford/Westmeath v Louth/Carlow/Kildare (2pm)

Ulster SFC: Donegal/Cavan/Derry v Down/Antrim (4pm)

Leinster SFC: Offaly/Wicklow/Dublin v Longford/Meath (4pm)

June 17th

Connacht Football Final (4pm)

Munster SHC: Clare v Limerick (2pm)

Munster SHC: Waterford v Cork (2pm)

June 23rd

Munster Football Final (7pm)

June 24th

Ulster Football Final (2pm)

Leinster Football Final (4pm)

July 1st

Munster Hurling Final (2pm)

Leinster Hurling Final (4pm)

July 7/8th

All-Ireland SHC prelims

Munster 3rd place v McDonagh winner

Leinster 3rd place v McDonagh runner-up

July 14/15th

All-Ireland SFC QF round-robin (Croke Park)

July 15th

All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals

July 21/22nd

All-Ireland SFC QF round-robin

July 28th

All-Ireland SHC semi-final

July 29th

All-Ireland SHC semi-final

August 4/5/6th

All-Ireland SFC QF round-robin

August 11th

All-Ireland SFC semi-final

August 12th

All-Ireland SFC semi-final

August 19th

All-Ireland SHC final

September 2nd

All-Ireland SFC final

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