Liam O'Neill was deeply annoyed at RTE's treatment of the GAA's deal with Sky this week. Certainly, yesterday's Liveline programme was a typically angry affair, where cool and reasoned argument was given a sound thrashing by emotive scaremongering.
Duffy made zero effort to conceal his opposition to the deal. He egged on every opponent of the move, and probed the few who attempted to defend the deal. He announced at the outset of the show that "almost nobody" was in favour of this deal. It is certainly true that very few people who were disposed to ring up Liveline yesterday were in favour. I am not an employee of Red C, Millward Brown, MRBI, or any other polling company, but I suspect the Liveline calling community do not constitute a reliable cross-section of the population.
Throughout the show, Joe Duffy referred Liam O'Neill, Padraic Duffy and Nicky Brennan as the "GAA Troika", an intriguing allusion.
Most of the contributors seemed to be under the impression that every championship match ever has been screened live on terrestrial TV up to now. Also, one would come away with the impression that no one actually goes to games anymore.
One particularly irate contributor proudly began his rant with the hoary old line about how the GAA should be called the 'Grab all association", unfurling this gem as if he was the first person ever to have thought it up. He whipped himself up into such a frenzy that he worried whether we would see "Gary Neville, Jamie Redknappp and Graeme Sounness analysing GAA." I'm sure the Jamie Redknapp question was a red line issue for the GAA. Any potential involvement of him, I'm sure, would have been an automatic dealbreaker as far as Croke Park was concerned...
At one point, Joe Duffy did point out to one caller that the GPA were in favour of the deal. If he thought this might impress the caller he was deeply mistaken. The caller said of the GPA, "sure those lads have never kicked a ball in their lives..."
You can listen to the rollicking show here.