GAA Football

TV audience for Tailteann semi-finals out-strip three provincial deciders

Westmeath's Ronan Wallace celebrates his goal in Tailteann Cup semi-final between Westmeath and Offaly on Sunday

SUNDAY’S Tailteann Cup semi-finals proved a bigger hit with armchair viewers than three of this season's provincial finals.

RTE’s viewing figures of the inaugural 'B' competition were hugely encouraging with the first semi-final between Cavan and Sligo pulling in 152,000 and peaking at 203,000.

As is the usual trend with double-header games on TV, more tuned in to watch the later game between Westmeath and Offaly, which averaged 189,000 viewers and peaked at 232,000.

In TV viewing terms, both Tailteann semi-finals outstripped the provincial final figures for Munster (Kerry versus Limerick), Leinster (Dublin versus Kildare) and Connacht (Galway versus Roscommon), while the Ulster final between Donegal and Derry was the strongest performer of the lot.

This year’s final pairings in Munster and Connacht were perhaps partially to blame for the disappointing viewing figures with Kerry and Cork and Mayo and Galway the undoubted crowd-pullers in their respective provinces.

The Leinster SFC is an ailing competition largely due to Dublin's dominance for more than a decade.

As little as 33,000 attended this year’s Leinster decider, the lowest crowd in 31 years. A crowd of 16,616 attended last Sunday’s Tailteann Cup double-header with all supporters housed in the lower Hogan stand.

The fact that a second tier competition drew a bigger audience than three provincial finals may be another signal to the GAA that a Championship format change is needed.

RTE were committed to showing ‘live’ coverage of both Tailteann Cup semi-finals and will screen the decider between Cavan and Westmeath on July 9, which will act as a curtain-raiser to an All-Ireland semi-final at headquarters.

The public broadcaster has shown highlights from the earlier rounds of the Tailteann Cup.

A competition that was initially met with apathy in parts of the country appears to have decent viewing figures to suggest it has a bright future.

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GAA Football