I watched the All-Ireland Hurling Final on TV last Sunday and I’m still trying to process what I saw and heard. Here are a few thoughts it has provoked so far.
- I note that, like soccer, Gaelic games now interview the winning/losing captain, the winning/losing manager, etc., with the interview going out on the loud-speaker system so the spectators at the game can hear it as well as people at home. A good idea, at least for the spectators at the game, but I suspect it makes for a less successful interview.
- The speech made by the winning captain as he receives the trophy hasn’t improved over the years. With the sweat of battle still fresh and flowing, they tend to talk in a wild, shouting-to-a-man-three-fields-away manner. There must be money to be made coaching GAA captains in how to deliver a half-decent speech.
- The crowd at the game, we were told, was over 82,000. I’m certain that a great number of sports enthusiasts in the north were watching the game – on RTÉ. It got mentioned in BBC sports reports but I don’t remember any footage being shown. So a hurlding final that attracts 82,000 spectators is not televised by the BBC; the average Irish League game gets a gate of less than 1,000. There is a petition being circulated, asking people to sign it and urge the BBC to televise the Irish League.
- I got the impression that the atmosphere in Croke Park on Sunday was super-charged. Kilkenny have been amazingly successful in recent years and have a passionate following. Tipperary and hurling for a long, long time have been synonymous, and on Sunday they put on a display of power and skill that was breath-taking. Yet I noticed that throughout the stadium, fans from both counties were sitting mingled together. The day was what sporting occasions should be like, and contrast sharply with the Shurely Shome Mishtake blog I did a few days ago (I’ve finally got the video up – apologies). It’s days like Sunday that make me realize what a rich, overflowing heritage we in Ireland are lucky enough to have. (But I still think winning-captain-coaching would be good…)
Yes points well made Jude. All potential winning captains should be made study Peter Canavan’s speech after the 2003 football final…
Ah give it a rest. These are young men who have just reached the pinnacle of their sporting career. To expect them to give some life affirming speech in the immediate aftermath of the game is an expectation too far.
Sorry, Ryan – no can do. It doesn’t have to be blood-vessel-popping roars of delight. There have been GAA captains who have made exemplary speeches. I found it just took the shine off an otherwise splendid game.
Jude, not sure if you watched the evening news last night either but the coverage from both BBC and UTV was poor to non existent for what was the biggest sporting event on the island this past weekend. Antrim alone has the third highest amount of GAA clubs on the island which may give a small indicator as to the amount of members that would be interested in the final coverage. That is of course not to discount those who may not be official members but still have an interest in GAA games. Add in the other counties and you’re taking about a significant amount of interest completely overlooked by the 2 main sporting news outlets. While there may be issues showing the final live on either channel due to TV rights etc, there’s no excuse for not giving it significant sporting news coverage.
As there was no Northern Ireland involvement I’m not sure we can really expect a lot of coverage by NI television.
If you’re basing the call for TV coverage on the number of followers of the sport generally in NI, then wouldn’t that merit lots of sports news coverage of English and Scottish footbal, since they would have more of a following than even GAA.
No team from the north plays in the English or Scottish soccer competitions as far as I’m aware.
Several teams from the north participate in the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
Just because a team from the north havnt been good enough to make the final doesn’t mean people’s interest in that competition stops.
It doesn’t mean there should be little to no coverage of it on the sports news.
It doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a highlights programme.
You’ve also demonstrated a high degree of ignorance of how GAA people take interest in their sport.
“No team from the north plays in the English or Scottish soccer competitions as far as I’m aware.
Several teams from the north participate in the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.”
Not sure how that matters if you’re basing the expectation coverage on interest levels. The absence of a team from ‘the north’ doesn’t stop people being interested.
“Just because a team from the north havnt been good enough to make the final doesn’t mean people’s interest in that competition stops.
It doesn’t mean there should be little to no coverage of it on the sports news.”
Just because a team from ‘the north’ doesn’t play in the English or Scottish League doesn’t mean people’s interest in that competition isn’t there. It doesn’t mean there should be little or no coverage of it on the sports news.
“It doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a highlights programme.”
The absence of a highlights programme is surely a result of the GAA’s rights issue?
“You’ve also demonstrated a high degree of ignorance of how GAA people take interest in their sport.”
I haven’t expressed any view of ‘how GAA people.tale interest in their sport’. But going with your logic, then you’ve demonstrated a high degree of ignorance of how football people take interest in their sport.
You’ve illustrated many times, not just in this post but in others, an ignorance to things GAA.
Probably best not to comment on things you have little knowledge off.
“You’ve illustrated many times, not just in this post but in others, an ignorance to things GAA.
Probably best not to comment on things you have little knowledge off.”
If that were true, you’d be able to point to point out such ignorance, but you haven’t been able to. You seem to prefer attacking the person rather than addressing the points he is making. That is disappointing and doesn’t make for good discussion.
MT, both All Ireland finals are the biggest one off sporting occasions in Europe in most years.
What bigger sporting occasion took place in Europe last weekend?
What bigger sporting occasion will take place on the 19th September when the football final takes place?
The BBC in particular, is very biased towards the GAA. It only shows the Ulster teams. That’s like showing only the British teams in Europeans Championship and ignoring all the other teams.
It doesn’t give a full account of the GAA deans. He’ll it doesn’t even give the full results and it’s a distortion of the competition.
Eamonn McCann and I managed to get tickets through mo dhearthar for a Galway/Kilkenny final in 2012 (?). It ended in a draw with a point scored to level the match in the final seconds. Neither of us had been to a county hurling game before but , although oblivious of the rules, were enthralled by the spectacle, its blistering pace and sporting partisanship. Much of the crowd comprised of opposing supporters, sitting side-by-side. It remains a vivid memory .Mc Cann , of course, was recognised by those sitting near us who were equally bemused and delighted at his presence. Autographs were sought. Your closing paragraph , Jude, mirrors my thoughts at the time.
Thanks John. I think they still have to fully crack the televised coverage – that damn ball is so small and moves so quickly…
I’ll tell you what Jude, we’ll start a competitive hAve yellow balls as they might prove the visuals for all.
Sambo McNaughton summed it up in a small programme done on his club in Cushendall a few years back as part of a wider series done on traditions in the North – I think by the BBC – I know shock! He said, if my memory serves me right, that we were blessed to have this game. It is, in my opinion, the fastest, most skillful and bravest ball game in the world.
Jude, the local television channels have never wanted to show Gaelic games. This was the final of, what is the fastest ball sport in the world and it barely got a mention on bbc NI. Pathetically one-sided, but sure years of getting used to it kind of inure one to this kind of second class treatment. Pity.
You do pay your licence fee, Freddie??????
Does anyone have a link to the petition?
Marvellous game!! Note there were no yellow or otherwise cards given during the final.
Our culture at its best
When talking about coaching captains in speaking skills it would be no harm if the northern ones at least learned a ‘cupla focal’ for the occasion. My delight when a team from the six counties wins is tempered when the captain cannot even say ‘A Uachtarán…(A notable exception was Tyrone captain Peter Canavan who spoke passionately and fluently as gaeilge. My observations of the GAA “up here” lead me to conclude that while they pay lip service to Irish, they are more interested in money making functions such as Bingo, Strictly Come Dancing and X factor. Irish culture how are you….
While watching the game on the box last Sunday, Esteemed Blogmeister, one was reminded of the first hurling final one witnessed in the flesh: that of 1957.
That also featured Kilkenny whose opponents on the day were Waterford.
The march around by both teams before the game and behind the Artane Boys Band is one of the unique features of All Ireland Finals – and it is strange this spectacle has not been picked up by other sports around the world. As hors d’ouevres go it it is as good an appetizer of a hors de combat as one is liable to get.
Two elements of that first march past stick with one: the first in the memory, the second in the craw.
For starters, the Kilkenny cats had sixteen in the black and amber ganseys, one more than the norm. He was the last man in their line, and he looked about as comfortable with a caman in his hand as Baudoin of the Belgiums did when pictured pucking the sliotar around with Dev, the then Prez, in front of Aras an Uachtarain.
This Puss in ill-fitting hurling Boots turned out to be the English actor John Gregson and the march around was fillumed as an insert into the movie ‘Rooney’ which was being partly shot in the Ardmore studios at the time (not Ardmore in County Waterford).
‘Rooney’ (the eponymous ballad was made popular by Michael Holiday) was based on a novel by Catherine Cookson who was ‘Katie McMullen’ as a girl and raised by her grandparents of Irish stock.
The character of ‘Rooney’ worked as a dustman in the streets of dirty Dublin and could even be seen as a cinematographic forerunner of ‘Quackser Fortune’ (played by the recently deceased Gene Wilder) who collected horse dung off the even dirtier streets of Dublin in 1970.
What sticks in one’s craw was the verbal cuffing of one’s ear. As the teams marched around the sward one remarked to Warbeck Major, a linguistic purist or nothing, that :
-Kilkenny look like the biggest team.
The growl which greeted this physically correct if grammatically inaccurate comment, was:
-The BIGGER team.
From then on one became a comparatively better person, going grammatically forward. Historically, Joe Biggar still remains probably the best example of the least appropriately surnamed public figure of this Victorian era in Belfast.
John Gregson looked a tad out of condition stripped out as his striped Kilkenny gansey struggled with feline tanacity to fit his extravagant contours without bursting at the seams, at least before the end of the Natonal Tantrum. After which, the English actor disappeared from view down the tunnel never to appear on a hurling field again. Ever.
Which is not to say he might not have given a reasonable account of himself. After all, there was one rather plump around the rump player to be observed during the march around in the Tipperary colours last Sunday. That was one, Bubbles Dwyer, who seemed to be enveloped in bubble wrap. Didn’t seem to spancil The Ebullient One one iota, though.
Sceptical eyebrows were raised back in 1957 that a Dublin dustman could line out in the Kilkenny hurlers. Even more skeptical eyebrows would come into play among the Aramaic residents of the dusty Golan Heights if they’d been told how two of the opposing players last Sunday (Eoin Larkin of Kilkenny and Bonner Maher of Tipperary) prepared for their tour of duty there as members of the UNIFIL contingent.
By bumping off each other as if they were Dodgems in a fairground.
Last Sunday was not without shortcomings (minor and mendable) as you point out, EB.
Thankfully one of those Pat Shortt-comings was nipped smartly before it became contagious. As the clock wound down and the Stone Throwers had finally driven the Cats out of sight, a woeful dirge was heard to emanate from Hill Sixteen which served to remind one that the same Hill was actually baptized (gulp) Hill 60 (GAAlipoli and all that).
Happily, Charles the Fenian must have quickly stopped, erm, kicking in his coffin. The incipient strains were soon and systematically drowned out by the public address system as the unstrained strains of Slievenamon loomed over the Hill:
-Alone all alone, by a wave-washed strand, all alone in a crowded dancehall.
The Elvery Sports Brand was to be spotted on GAAnseys over the last couple of weeks in Crow Park. Which reminds one that their near namesakes, the Everly Brothers once sweetly sang of their tragically lost love, who bore more than a passing resemblance to the black-eyed Rose of Mooncoin:
-If I ever get to heaven I bet, the first thing I’ll recognize
She’ll smile at me and I know she will be, my Ebony Eyes.
On the other hand, one will know for certain that one has died and gone to Sporting Hell if one is greeted with this doubly dreadful dirge:
-You’ll nevvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvver walk alone through the Fields of Athenry.
One can really get too much of a bad thing.
It is a shame the BBC did not show any footage.
What did they say when you demanded an explanation?
Nothing, as I didn’t demand an explanation. Since you think it’s a shame and obviously have a lot of time on your hands, gio, maybe you’d do the job?
I already did your checking for you on the Ravenhill memorial and got no thanks.
You are talking to them every other day, maybe just..like…ask them…maybe?
It’s almost as though you are not that interested in finding out why,when you can just have dig at the BBC.
Perhaps you might raise the issue of the GAA deal with Rupert Murdoch?
On the ball or should I say slithaor again Jude .
BBC NI like their weather reports ignore any thing south of Newry
Angie and Barra go to great lengths informing us weather condtions in Birmingham and London with Dublin and even Donegal not getting a mention
“On the ball or should I say slithaor again Jude .
BBC NI like their weather reports ignore any thing south of Newry”
Odd that there’s been extensive reporting of the terrible murder suicide in Cavan, the murder of the Dublin guy in Spain, the Republic of Ireland football team and often reports from the Dail and coverage of Dail elections and for example the gay marriage referendum. Maybe you’re mistaken?
“Angie and Barra go to great lengths informing us weather condtions in Birmingham and London with Dublin and even Donegal not getting a mention”
I’ve never once heard or seen Barra Best giving the weather forecast for Birmingham. I have heard him mention events in the Republic like concerts and sports events and give the weather. Again, maybe you’re mistaken.
I listened to the second half of the match thru my computer (in Paris), Hearing that Tipp
were winning I could only say “the poor bastards” as Kilkenny always come back in the second half tp get, at least. a draw, in what other game in the world could you have 53 scores in 70
minutes, with the teams level eleven times?
You’d need to be an epic begrudger to show the contempt “MT” shows for the game and its admirers.
I’ve read papers “of record” in England which record scores in obscure sports in countries beyond its shores and with spectators measured in hundreds, which ignore All Ireland Finals with over 80 thousand spectators in Croke Park alone. I’ve seen men climbing trees in Clapham Common (in the 1960s) setting up aerials so their friends could listen to GAA matches on a transistor radio.
Poor MT! Stranger to human empathy. Devoid of imagination. Mean -spirited spoilsport, party-pooper, wet-blanket incarnate!
,”in what other game in the world could you have 53 scores in 70
minutes, with the teams level eleven times?”
For some, scoring at such a high frequency is not a positive thing as it diminishes the significance of each individual score.
It would be helpful if you could cite the ‘begrudging’ remarks to which you refer. I’m not aware of begrudging anything. I simply offered an explanation as to why there mightn’t be extensive tv coverage of an all-Southern match on Northern tv, and queried the purported reasoning for such expectation. And corrected someone’s false claims that there was no coverage of Southern events on NI tv.
1) no ones asking for “extensive coverage”
2) no one clamed “there was no coverage of Southern events on NI tv”
You really just should stop now.
Not only are you showing your ignorance but you’re struggling to keep up too.
“1) no ones asking for “extensive coverage””
OK, ‘more extensive coverage than currently provided’: is that more accurate? Doesn’t make any difference to my point.
“2) no one clamed “there was no coverage of Southern events on NI tv”
Eh? Mark did.
“You really just should stop now.
Not only are you showing your ignorance but you’re struggling to keep up too.”
I haven’t shown any ignorance. What ignorance do you think I’ve shown. And nor have I failed to keep up. Indeed it seems you’re not keeping up given you didn’t see Mark’s contribution.
Your comments haven’t addressed any of the points I made.