'A four-second slide' - Cork City boss criticises lack of TV coverage for President's Cup

Speaking in Dublin today, John Caulfield said he believes more can be done to promote the League of Ireland.

Caulfield (second left) speaking to Con Murphy, Dundalk captain Stephen O'Donnell and Galway United's Ryan Connolly at the Aviva Stadium today.
Caulfield (second left) speaking to Con Murphy, Dundalk captain Stephen O'Donnell and Galway United's Ryan Connolly at the Aviva Stadium today.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

IRELAND’S TOP TWO clubs, Cork City and Dundalk, were involved in a thrilling affair over the weekend, but it will have passed many by.

Stephen Kenny’s Lilywhites hosted the annual President’s Cup on Sunday, with the visitors coming back from two goals down to claim a 4-2 victory as Oriel Park experienced all four seasons in one afternoon.

The fixture has been shown on RTÉ in previous years, but the national broadcaster opted against either live or delayed footage for the 2018 curtain-raiser. In fact, highlights of the match only surfaced this morning, when Dundalk posted a clip on their official YouTube channel.

Speaking at the SSE Airtricity League launch at the Aviva Stadium today, City boss John Caulfield criticised the fact that fans of Irish football couldn’t even see the goals on the RTÉ news that night.

“Last Sunday, there were eight minutes of sport on the nine o’clock news,” Caulfield said. “The first two-and-a-half minutes were GAA, which is very good. There were 30 seconds of ladies GAA, which made it three minutes.

“There was a minute and a bit of ladies rugby, there were two-and-a-half minutes about the Premier League’s three games. There was a four-second slide about the President’s Cup, and there was another minute-and-a-half about the Winter Olympics.

I think we all have a responsibility to talk up our league and promote it. While 27 live games is fantastic to have, at the end of the day our season is 36 league games, plus lots of cup games.

“The Monday night show [Soccer Republic] is really excellent. A lot of people here work in the national broadcaster, it’s important to try to promote our league more.

“We are a professional league, we do play in Europe, and the more I go around different countries looking at the standards and the facilities, the more I look at our own league and see it’s an incredible league. The top teams over here are really at the top level and we are playing in Europe.”

2018 SSE Airtricity League Season Launch (Left to right): Ian Bermingham, Trevor Clarke, Gavin Peers, Stephen O'Donnell, Hugh Douglas, Conor McCormack, Eoin Wearen, Raffaele Cretaro, John Martin and Derek Pender at today's launch. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Earlier in the day, FAI director of competitions Fran Gavin and SSE Airtricity League marketing executive John McGuinness had talked up improvements being made to the league ahead of the the upcoming campaign, which kicks off this Friday night.

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Live on RTÉ 2 is the sold-out Dublin derby between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park (7.30pm).

With FAI chief executive John Delaney and senior international manager Martin O’Neill in attendance, Gavin lauded news that 27 matches will be shown live between RTÉ and eirSport, while 37 episodes of weekly highlights show Soccer Republic are scheduled be aired at the earlier time of 7pm on Monday evenings.

A new Youth Development Fund of €250,000, which will be added to the Uefa Solidarity Fund (currently standing at €825,000), is being introduced too. It aims to help clubs cover costs involved with running teams in the U19, U17, U15 and U13 National Leagues.

The elite player pathway has never been stronger or clearer,” said Gavin. “All around the country, young players are getting to test themselves against the best of their age group, receiving top class coaching and being introduced to an environment where standards have been raised.”

McGuinness, who is in the job just over a year, also praised social media campaigns being run by various clubs in recent times — including Shamrock Rovers’ #FootballLovesUS, #TerracesNotTV from Bohs and Cork City’s #Signedfor2018.

On attendances, he added: “One of our main objectives is to try and grow figures across the league and last year was a great year for that. We had an increase of almost 24% year-on-year from 2016 to 2017. That’s a fantastic figure. We’ve increased attendances in most clubs, and definitely in the Premier Division, and that’s a credit to the work they are doing locally.”

It was also announced that the SSE Airtricity League is launching a new weekly podcast ‘Greatest League  in the World’, presented by Con Murphy and featuring St Patrick’s Athletic winger Conan Byrne, along with a new book of the same name.

Source: SSE Airtricity/YouTube

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