AUTHOR AND CHAIRMAN of Stockholm Gaels Philip O’Connor has said the GAA is doing itself “no favours” on account of the lack of international coverage for Sunday’s All-Ireland final.
Speaking to TheScore.ie, he criticised the fact that international viewers will have great difficulty getting access to live coverage of the game and said that the lack of coverage abroad is making the game “harder to spread” for people who are trying to promote the sport abroad.
Setanta currently hold the international rights for GAA coverage, but O’Connor says in his opinion:
“To be honest, they haven’t done a great job.”
However, he added that it “doesn’t matter who holds the rights,” so long as the games get shown.
He was optimistic that he would still be able to view the game in an Irish bar, but added that he knew of people with an interest in the sport in “smaller towns” for whom it would be virtually impossible to watch the game.
He indicated that the GAA was its own worst enemy in this case and that “the benefits of showing the games abroad far outweigh the commercial [restrictions]”.
He highlighted a short report that Eurosport provided on the All-Ireland hurling final, which, he said, resulted in a noticeable upturn in interest in the sport in the city and caused several people to approach him to inquire about it.
O’Connor added that there was scope for an increase in interest in the sport among non-Irish people, pointing to an Estonian GAA team that has no Irish players as evidence of the sport’s potential.
Meanwhile, when asked for a prediction ahead of Sunday’s game, O’Connor was confident that the Dubs could upset Kerry, saying:
“I know Pat Gilroy from school and he is one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever met, so I’m sure he’ll have a plan for Kerry.”
Dublin go into Sunday’s final against Kerry having not won the All-Ireland since 1995.