One Annoying Aspect Of TV Coverage Reared Its Head In The Brilliant Monaghan/Down Clash

One Annoying Aspect Of TV Coverage Reared Its Head In The Brilliant Monaghan/Down Clash

These are strange times in the Ulster championship: journalists turn up with their thesauruses open at the word 'compelling', and then some proper entertainment breaks out.

Down and Monaghan proved so, with the former proving that tradition is still legal tender in the Championship, bewitching the Farney defence and all watching with a slick display of kicking, be it points or long, raking passes.

In the end, Down were full value for their 1-14 to 0-15 victory over the 76-or-so minutes in Armagh.

It was a terrific spectacle, but for television viewers on both RTE and BBC, there was one, recurring frustration. (Tom Carr gets a pass tonight).

The quick kick-out is critical in Gaelic football these days, and its deployment in recent years as the spark of an attack, rather than an opportunity to admire your opponents' high-fielding is one of the biggest cultural shifts in Gaelic football this century. It's the rock upon which Pat Gilroy and Jim Gavin have built a church: the movement of the adjacent umpire gives way to a Cluxton kick-out within the space of eight to ten seconds, on average.

Plenty of counties virtually all of them) have followed Dublin's suit, yet TV viewers continue to miss out on it, as TV directors continue to give the entire screen to replays. Tonight, we also missed a critical moment: an errant kick-out by the Monaghan 'keeper ended with Down being awarded a penalty. They cut back just in time to see the foul, but everyone watching did miss the breathless preamble.

Viewers were united in calls for a change.



In spite of this very fixable, problem, everyone was enthralled by a superb game of football, with the 'S' word back in vogue ion relation to Down:



Referee David Coldrick was replaced at half-time by Paddy Neilan, and he invited the fury of Down supporters by denying them a clear free in as the clock struck red: Rory Beggan clearly touched the ball on the ground outside of his small square, only for Neilan to give a free to Monaghan.

It didn't matter, however.

The swagger is back in Ulster.

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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