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5 Admittedly Minor Things About This Year's Championship That Have Driven Us Mad

5 Admittedly Minor Things About This Year's Championship That Have Driven Us Mad
By Gavin Cooney
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Okay, we're not going full Howard Beale here - we may be mad as hell, but we're more than willing to take some more, particularly if it involves Tipperary -  but there have been a few small things about this year's Championship that have driven us mad. While many have expressed disaffection with overly-defensive football, a ludicrously imbalanced competition structure and consistently poor execution of the basic skills of the game, we find that these often just instill a certain weary disenchantment.

The above macro-issues do not inspire the kind of teeth-grinding, fist-clenching, exasperated anger, however, as the little things. Here are five admittedly fairly minor things about the Championship coverage this year that have ended up driving us mad.

The Nuacht

For some reason, RTE have decided to broadcast The Sunday Game on RTE One on Sunday afternoons. This, we assumed, was a short-term measure while Euro 2016 took up residence on RTE Two. We were wrong, however, and it has proved to be a permanent move.

RTE's Irish language output is predominately funded by the taxpayer, yet this cross-channel migration of live GAA has brought up a second, hidden cost to the humble, sports-mad taxpayer.

The half-time analysis of the second game of RTE's Sunday doubleheader is delayed and truncated by virtue of the fact RTE are duty-bound to squash in their Irish-language requirements. While this initially provided a decent 'oh, at least the Nuacht is a bit of entertaining relief from this shite' brand of humour (that this writer did, initially, engage in), it has become old fairly quickly.

While the Nuacht interrupted today's Tipperary/Galway clash, a TV show called Scorpion ran on RTE Two. It is described by RTE as "a high-octane drama about eccentric genius Walter O'Brien, who was born and raised in Ireland, and his team of brilliant misfits who comprise the last line of defense against complex, high-tech threats of the modern age", which feels like a metaphor for the ensemble of pundits over on RTE One.

Analysts feeling duty bound to pass remark on the spectacle of the game

This is a sad spin-off of the most prominent pundits surrounding the game continuing their crusade against the optics of modern-day football. This has been Pat Spillane's wheelhouse since 1992, but has spread to more of the nuanced analysts of late.


The question as to whether an analyst has enjoyed a particular game has invariably been the first question asked on live and highlight shows this year, as if the audience did not have brains for themselves. Anybody can work out whether they enjoyed the game: what we want from analysts is to tell us something we don't know.

This affected Ciaran Whelan - one of the best analysts RTE have - on the live broadcast today, where he sheepishly and needlessly added the 'it was a great game' to the beginning of his Tipperary/Galway analysis.

Excessive Injury Time

If the GAA added up all of the needless injury time they have played at the end of second halves this year, it would probably add up to the famed 'B' Championship they seem so intent on forcing upon players.


The Association have become more strict in the time they add on at the end of each half - 20 seconds per substitution, for example - meaning that 'the referee has indicated there will be a minimum of six minutes of injury time' is the new ''the referee has indicated there will be a minimum of two minutes of injury time'.

In fairness, it's probably a good thing, but it seemed  like an elaborate joke played on this weekend's games: Tipp/Galway and Kerry/Clare were long over, while Donegal/Cork and Mayo/Westmeath were not massively competitive in the closing minutes either.

In a Championship rife with horribly imbalanced ties, this seems like overkill.


The concept of Tom Carr

We have no reason to doubt that Tom Carr is a Good Football Man, but his co-commentary duty on RTE television this year has merely added to the feeling of existential futility surrounding the football championship. Most of RTE's broadcasts have taken place in half-empty stadiums featuring teams frozen by the fear of failure, and the only colour Carr adds is grey. If Carr was a rugby commentator, he would have voiced a documentary on the brief rugby career of Samuel Beckett and stress that he need never had bother playing as he was never capped internationally.

His ability to take a careful, measured and generally dull tone to describe events and incidents is let down by his amazing ability to call them incorrectly.

Even when Carr decides to go down the wry, caustic commentator route, his unfailingly boring tone lets him down, as happened during Kerry/Clare:



Archaic Formation Graphics

Surely it's about time GAA TV broadcasters catch up with the times, and start reflecting side's differing formations in their graphics beforehand? Sides in both codes have wildly different ways of deploying sweepers and the like, and the fact that this is not reflected in pre-game graphics is robbing the viewer of a full understanding of the tactical nuances on show.

As a result, we are told of sweepers and formations under the catch-all title of defensive or negative tactics, meaning the entire narrative obsesses on the spectacle of the sport.

Soccer has proven that there is a wide-ranging appetite to consume the tactical side of the game, and there is no reason why this could not be true of Gaelic football either.


See Also: 'Tipperary Saving Gaelic Football' - GAA World Reacts As Tipp Make All-Ireland Semi-Final

See Also: Pictures: Emotional Scenes As Tipp Players Celebrate Historic Victory



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