There was exciting news for GAA fans on Wednesday, with the announcement of a new podcast featuring old favourites of 'The Sunday Game' - Michael Lyster, Tomás Mulcahy, and Pat Spillane.
The new podcast, 'The Game on Sunday' released its first episode on Wednesday afternoon, and will be available free-to-air - with additional content available for Patreon subscribers.
Lyster, Mulcahy, and Spillane will also be regularly joined by special guests to discuss the goings on in the world of GAA as we progress deeper into championship summer, and the announcement also teased a series of live shows across the country this summer.
Balls.ie got the chance to chat to Pat Spillane about the exciting new podcast, and the Kerry legend promised fans that 'The Game on Sunday' will reflect the 'craic, banter, passion, colours, opinions, and arguments,' that make the GAA so special.
Pat Spillane on new 'Game on Sunday' podcast
It's hard not to smile seeing the promotional images of former 'Sunday Game' host Michael Lyster reunited with his old colleagues Pat Spillane Tomás Mulcahy, with the launch of their new podcast 'The Game on Sunday.'
The photos were taken at a launch event in Cork last week, and Spillane told Balls.ie on Wednesday that their first recording session instantly brought him back to their days together on 'The Sunday Game':
We got together for a trial last week in, of all places, Pairc Uí Chaoímh, and I swear to God it was like we had never gone away. The minute Michael shifted into questioning mode, we could have been on the go for 30 years without having a break. It flowed naturally.
Michael is a good friend of mine. The gas part about it is...everything is contrived or made up. On our first podcast today, I ended up having a flaming argument with Tomás Mulcahy over Donal Óg. I was still angry afterwards!
I'm delighted to be involved. I'm a very opinionated man, I've been there, done that, and I have a lot of opinions on lots of things.
I don't understand podcasts, I'm technologically absolutely screwed. But I know - it's a damn good first episode. With us, it's not scripted. It's off the cuff.
Michael is a genius. He never had notes [on 'The Sunday Game'], there was no script, there was a rough running order, but we'd sit down and shoot the breeze.
Spillane says that he has missed elements of 'The Sunday Game' since his departure last summer - but that it got to a stage where he could not justify the long days, and eight hour round trips to Dublin from Kerry.
He says that he has been contacted regularly for opinion on the goings on of the GAA world, and that this podcast presented the perfect opportunity to get back to "doing what he loved" from the comfort of his own home:
I swear to God, it's like a first day of school, or a first day back to meet your friends again.
When I retired from The Sunday Game, I knew I'd be doing something. I'm too hyper, I've too many opinions to offer. I work with the Sunday World and I've an article every Sunday and that's my platform. But I noticed - three recurring questions were always thrown at me.
One: 'ah, we'll miss you from The Sunday Game, it's not the same without you, you were great craic, great fun.'
Second: whenever there was a major talking point, all the TV stations, all the major programmes from radio, TV - they were all ringing me up for opinion. I was sort of saying to myself, 'hold on a minute now, if they're still ringing me, if I'm still number one on this list for opinions and reaction, I still have a platform.'
Number three: I was told, 'why don't you do a podcast, sure everyone's doing a podcast!'
The idea of podcasts is brilliant. I'm doing what I love best and I'm doing it from home. Talking about my favourite sport - and I'm also talking about other aspects of the GAA.
It's been nearly five years since Michael Lyster's departure from 'The Sunday Game,' and we are currently witnessing the first championship summer in many a year without Pat Spillane on our television screens.
The pair, alongside the classic panel of Joe Brolly and Colm O'Rourke, brought many a brilliant discussion, along with many clashes, arguments, and hilarious moments - something Spillane and co. hope to capture on their new podcast:
We'd like to reflect on what the GAA is - what makes us love it. It's about the craic, the banter, the passion, the colour, the opinions, the arguments. That's what we're going to try to recreate on the 'Game on Sunday' podcast.
You'll get the analysis, but we won't do the in-depth analysis for ten minutes that will be great for the 5%, but the 95% of ordinary GAA-loving people don't want to hear.
Eight-time All-Ireland winner Spillane still has an avenue through which to give his opinion in his weekly newspaper column, but his takes on modern football and the championship are sorely missed on those summer afternoons spent in Croke Park, or Fitzgerald Stadium.
In our chat, he said that he knew his opinions would often prove unpopular - but that they were honest, and from the heart, and that he was excited once again to have the chance to share them in the company of Lyster and Mulcahy.
One of the things I thought from 'The Sunday Game' was that while 5% would agree with me, and 95% would disagree with me, they would always know what I said.
I find that, in general, both programmes on all channels, terrestrial and satellite, are brilliant, the contributors look well and speak well. The gizmos, the gadgets, the analysis, it's all superb. But it's a bit like going for a McDonalds or a Burger King. You can satisfy your need, but after having a burger, two hours later you're still hungry.
I find that with the GAA programmes. Two hours later, somebody asks you 'what did they say on that programme today?' You haven't a clue. The one thing I can guarantee you is that while you mightn't agree with me - and you might disagree with me more often than not! - you'll at least know what I said.
We'll certainly be tuning in to Pat Spillane and the boys on 'The Game on Sunday,' as the football and hurling championships motor on towards the business end of things.
You can sign up and stream the first episode of the 'Game on Sunday' podcast here.