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Dublin chairman believes county boards will unite to get all games back on free-to-air TV

Sean Shanley says encouraging people to visit licensed premises to watch matches is ‘not the correct ethos’.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

DUBLIN GAA’S RE-ELECTED chairman Sean Shanley believes county boards across the country will make a stand to return GAA fixtures to free-to-air television.

A motion was passed by the Kerry county board last week to make all televised games free-to-air once more when the current deal with Sky Sports expires in 2016, and Dublin followed suit last night with a similar proposal that received wide support.

“I think there is a feeling that it’s our own game and people who haven’t got Sky or can’t afford to pay for the one-off game are deprived from seeing games, particularly those of their own county,” Shanley told The42. “And that’s why it has got such support.”

“It was never discussed at Congress previously, it was just the central body, Croke Park, deciding to give some of the games to Sky. They didn’t consult the counties so people feel aggrieved at that.

“The notion that most clubs and pubs have it. People spoke last night and said it’s wrong to be encouraging people to go into licensed premises to see the games. And that’s not the correct ethos either. That’s why it got such great support.”

Vision

Shanley was re-elected as the county board chairman on Monday night after first being installed in the role in February. And he has seen plenty of success during his first term in charge; the senior footballers winning the league and championship double the obvious highlight.

“You can’t be any happier with our footballers, I suppose they’ve proved themselves to be one of the best teams ever in Dublin – they’ll be going for the back to back,” the Craobh Chiaráin clubman said.

Ballyboden St Enda’s also recently captured their first provincial club title, making it four years in a row for sides from the capital.

“Dublin clubs have been dominating the club scene in Leinster football as well. So it’s looking good at the moment. Hopefully we can keep it that way.”

Hurling will be getting plenty of attention from Shanley, who hopes the small ball side can build on improvements made in recent years to match the success of the footballers.

“One of the main aims would be to bring Dublin hurling up to the same standard as our football. And I think we’re getting there, we’ve won a National League title and a provincial title in recent years after a long barren spell. So to get our hurlers up there alongside the footballers would be nice.”

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Alan Waldron

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