There was a real sense of occasion in Croke Park yesterday. The site of the Laois players' greeting their supporters, and being given a hero's reception in return, was one of the sporting images of the summer, and was a powerful scene in the face of growing elitism in both codes of the GAA.
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 14, 2019
The Laois hurlers did their county proud against Tipperary, staying in the game until late on while never really looking like causing an upset. The sending off of Aaron Dunphy early in the second half was harsh in the view of many, and put paid to any kind of real contest. Even still, Laois stayed in it with some spectacular performance and were beaten by just 10 points in the end.
A big and enthusiastic Laois crowd made their presence felt in Croke Park, and afterwards went home to catch the highlights on the Sunday Game. Unfortunately, they were left angry and disappointed by what they got.
While the choices of The Sunday Game producers is never an enviable task, it seemed like a disservice to Laois hurling to put the highlights on last in the night as a short package, rather than true highlights with the match commentary from earlier in the day. It got significantly less time than any of the other games of the day, and particularly the Cork and Kilkenny game which preceded it.
Those Laois fans wanting to bask in their feel good story for one night were left very annoyed by the decision.
Why did Laois v Tipperary only get a reporter package on the #SundayGame? Did it not deserve full highlights like Cork v Kilkenny? All-Ireland Quarter-Final 🤔
— Killian Whelan (@Killian_Whelan) July 14, 2019
Why couldn't rte show proper highlights of tipperary v laois as opposed to a report by John Kenny #SundayGame
— Eanna O'Malley (@DaBouldMalley) July 14, 2019
Only a report is shown of the Laois game tonight. @RTEsport if you want to grow the sport in smaller counties give them more coverage. It's an All Ireland Quarter Final. Why do they get treated different?
— Tall Baby 🔰 (@G1bbyTime) July 14, 2019
#SundayGame great coverage on Laois v Tipp game. Match report is all that it was worth for the biggest game in Laois hurling in 40 years.
— Jim Miller (@jimcmiller1968) July 14, 2019
Thanks for the extensive coverage of Laois v Tipp...more analysis than action.#SundayGame
— Gerry Thompson (@gerrythompson47) July 14, 2019
Can The Sunday Game be serious about the very poor highlights, or lack of highlights on the game between Tipp and Laois. A great day for Laois and just three minutes viewing and no live commetry
— Liam Hogan (@LiamHogan6) July 14, 2019
— Danny Hanlon (@dannyhanlon123) July 14, 2019
All Ireland quarter final and all the @TheSundayGame give on Laois game is a report by Jon Kenny!!!. Joke
— Philip Scully (@pippo30) July 14, 2019
Quickest coverage of a game that meant so much to the people of Laois. Not a mention of the sick refereeing. Bull. @TheSundayGame
— Kate (@minikitten23) July 14, 2019
Sickened with @TheSundayGame to put the Laois Tipp game down to a 2 minute report. Those lads deserve better than that
— Ailín O'Briain (@AOB_93) July 14, 2019
Joe Quaid, the former Limerick goalkeepers who is currently manager of Westmeath was also pissed off about the coverage of the team who beat him in the Joe McDonagh Cup final two weeks ago.
@TheSundayGame yet again pure disrespect of any teams outside of the elite. Paltry highlights of the Laois Tipp game. These players deserve better.
— joe quaid (@JoeQuaid) July 14, 2019
For the GAA's part, the scheduling of the games last weekend had already had a major impact on the exposure of the Laois hurlers on their biggest occasion since the 1985 Leinster final. With both hurling quarter-finals inexplicably being put up against Round 1 of the Super 8s, the Tipperary Laois audience was always going to be significantly lessened by Kerry Vs. Mayo being broadcast opposite it on RTE 1.
In reality then, how much exposure did Laois truly get for their incredible achievement of making an All-Ireland quarter-final? A live game in opposition to the biggest game of the football summer so far and the graveyard spot on the Sunday Game. It doesn't exactly scream "big time".
While Derek McGrath and Jackie Tyrrell had a good discussion about the exposure of Laois and teams at that level in their analysis, it was undermined somewhat by the programme's decision not to give them the coverage they were discussing when the opportunity was there.