FORMER CAVAN MANAGER and RTÉ pundit Martin McHugh has stated that 2012 is a very important year for the GAA and so managers must accept they have an obligation to provide football worth watching.
Speaking after the launch of RTÉ’s summer schedule, in which it was announced the station would be broadcasting 31 games across all platforms, the former All Ireland winning Donegal footballer admitted the GAA faced a difficult year competing for attention with Euro 2012 and the Olympics.
“When I was growing up, there was one county, Dublin, that provided soccer players to English clubs. Now there’s eight or nine and we’re competing with rugby as well.
“Given that the Olympics and Euro 2012 are on this year, it’s a very big year for the GAA. It’s very important we get good games and so the onus is on managers to provide a spectacle for supporters.”
The team most likely to provide that entertainment are Kerry according to McHugh.
“Kerry were the best team in the country last year and they should have won the All Ireland and I think they should win it this year too.
“It’s important they win the Munster championship though as they’re not getting any younger and the backdoor will do them no favours.”
As for Dublin, McHugh believes they are still the best team in Leinster, despite a less than convincing league campaign.
“Kildare looked good in the league, but I still think they’re some way behind Dublin in terms of quality. It’s very difficult to see past a repeat of last year’s All Ireland final.”
McHugh, one of RTÉ’s panellists for this year’s action, sees little threat coming from Ulster or Connacht.
“I think the standard of football has dropped in Ulster and it’s just not as good as what we’re seeing from the other provinces. Tyrone are the best of the bunch but Down could have a good run this year as they’re in the easier side of the draw.
“In Connacht, there are some good vibes coming out of the Galway camp and if their young players gel, they could cause a few surprises in the championship.”