Gaelic Athletic Association president Aogán Ó Fearghail has labelled coverage from Irish public-service broadcaster RTÉ as “tiresome” and “consistent in its negativity”, adding it could be a factor when it comes to negotiating a new rights deal.
Ó Fearghail was commenting on RTÉ’s ‘The Sunday Game’ programme, in particular the August 16 edition when analyst Colm O’Rourke said there was “a bad smell” associated with Tyrone because of their approach to the game.
Asked if O’Rourke’s comments are discrediting the GAA, Ó Fearghail told the Irish Examiner newspaper: “It possibly is. It’s discrediting of the people themselves. I did say it before and I would still say it again: I think some of The Sunday Game commentary is unfair. But at this stage it’s predictable and in fairness it’s consistent in its negativity. So it’s fairly predictable. It’s tiresome, I find.
“When people talk about smells or nastiness or anything like that, I just find it unhelpful in our sport. I like analysis where people say something is wrong and where they point out that something could be improved. There’s nothing wrong with that but using that type of language is not something I like.”
In April 2014, RTÉ, pay-television broadcasters Sky and Setanta Sports, and Irish-language free-to-air broadcaster TG4 were awarded rights in Ireland for GAA hurling and Gaelic football tournaments in three-year deals, covering 2014-15 to 2016-17.
RTÉ retained live rights to 31 games per year, including the All-Ireland finals and semi-finals in both sports, the All- Ireland hurling quarter-finals, and two of the four All-Ireland football quarter-finals. RTÉ also acquired rights to all six provincial championship finals.
When asked if the grievance could be an issue when television rights are distributed again at the end of 2016, Ó Fearghail added: “It might be. It could be an issue.”