Why The Wrong Game Is Being Shown On RTE Tonight

Why The Wrong Game Is Being Shown On RTE Tonight
By Conor Neville

The two best teams in the League of Ireland over the past couple of years in Oriel Park meet tonight.

The champions were thought to be a depleted entity this year, with the departure of Richie Towell, but they are motoring nicely. It has been a serene opening and they sit on top of the table - alongside Shamrock Rovers - with three wins from three.

Cork City, meanwhile, tipped by many to reach the summit this year, have begun with a good win over Bohs, a thumping win over Longford Town, and a frustrating loss in Derry.

Given RTE's commitment to screening live League of Ireland games this year (18 matches this season), one would have thought tonight's clash would be a prime candidate for a televised encounter.

Last year, the TV cameras were down to catch sight of a full house in Turner's Cross for the visit of Dundalk. There was much chatter afterwards about the buzz surrounding the League in Cork, and the corresponding lack of buzz in Dublin. It was then that Roddy floated his massively unpopular idea that the FAI demote all Dublin sides bar Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers.

However, tonight's match is not on RTE.

They are currently showing Ireland's U20 match against Scotland. The station has a deal to screen the U20 games on the evening before the senior internationals.

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The fault lies not with RTE, who are locked into this commitment to show the U20s.

It was incumbent on the League should have shown more flexibility in the arranging of fixtures. Surely there was room to tinker with the fixture list. Move the Dundalk-Cork game to a weekend when RTE can screen the game.

Depressingly, Stuey Byrne said on Off the Ball this week that had RTE approached them three weeks ago and asked them to move the fixture, they wouldn't have done it. Even at two months notice, they wouldn't have done it.

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(Regrettably, every League of Ireland chat has to morph into a state-of-the-game, bigger picture discussion to hold the attention of the mainstream punter. The floating voter will not be detained long by the nitty-gritty.)

This is strange.

After all, the FAI are adamant that they need more televised games, often in defiance of the clubs themselves. Shamrock Rovers wrote directly to RTE last year, asking the station not to screen their games because it was having an impact on attendance.

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This problem does not apply in Dundalk or Cork.

The stubborness about the fixture list is thus a needless obstacle to the promotion of the League. It's time they allowed some leeway. Dundalk and Cork City should be on TV.

Read more: Damien Duff's Views On Brian Kerr Will Leave You Baffled At How He's Not In The Irish Setup

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