Hurling and camogie

GAA want to see more coverage of lower tier hurling competitions says president John Horan

GAA president John Horan and GPA chief executive Paul Flynn helped launch the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher competitions yesterday. Picture by Sportsfile
Neil Loughran

GAA president John Horan says the association will appeal for “more coverage” of the Joe McDonagh Cup when negotiating its next media deal.

It was widely lauded for the quality and competitiveness of the games during its inaugural year, but criticism was aimed at the GAA for failing to actively promote the second-tier competition.

As a result the games from round 3B will be streamed live on GAANOW, the GAA’s own media platform.

Horan feels that coverage should be extended further in years to come, but warned the decision ultimately lay in the hands of television executives.

"It’s certainly something, and I’m not making up false promises… when we are re-negotiating our next media deal that we actually look for more coverage. We are streaming McDonagh games this year, and it is a start,” he said.

"But unfortunately lads, and you’ll see yourselves from the games that the TV companies have picked this year for the Championship, that it’s predominantly hurling matches for the first four or five weeks of the actual Championship.

"They are driven by nothing other than numbers on the actual television screen. Dublin played a Leinster Championship match which was a foregone conclusion in the last two years, and when I spoke to the head of RTÉ he said ‘John, we are driven by figures. We’ll get over 300,000 watching that game.’

"So unfortunately they are driven by numbers, and that’s the control they have over it at the moment. But certainly in the next deal, we’ll be looking for greater coverage for your actual games in it and the only we are going to get it is to tie it into a contract and giving them the flexibility of choice.”

Last year Carlow finished top of the pile in the Joe McDonagh Cup, and on Sunday they take on All-Ireland finalists Galway in the Leinster Championship.

The Barrowsiders, Horan insists, are an example for all counties bidding for brighter futures.

He added: “I think Carlow are a shining example to us in terms of the merit of these competitions and the progress they’ve made.

“This year they are up in the Liam MacCarthy and Offaly have fallen down. I’m quite sure Offaly are determined to get back up to where they were, but it’s that progression opportunity that these competitions present to you, and I feel that’s a great concept."

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