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Extra games but no extra live TV coverage - GAA sticking with plan for 2018 season

There will be 45 games televised between the football and hurling championship this summer.

NEW GAA DIRECTOR-General Tom Ryan has confirmed that there will not be an increase in live television coverage this summer despite the addition of games to football and hurling championships.

A view of a TV camera 45 live senior inter-county games will be televised this summer. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The appointment of Carlow native Ryan to succeed Páraic Duffy was rubber-stamped last month and he spoke today at Croke Park in his first media briefing since filling his new role.

Ryan stated that the GAA intend to keep with plans to broadcast 45 live games this summer between RTÉ and Sky Sports, which will mean several games will not be televised in a summer that sees the introduction of the Super 8s in football and round-robin formats in the Leinster and Munster senior hurling championships.

“We’re going to stick with the existing structure of things. We’re happy with how the arrangement has worked up to now and we’re not looking at changing the nuts and bolts of the arrangement until that comes up for renewal.”

Ryan previously served as the GAA’s Director of Finance for the last 11 years and feels that he deserves time to make his mark rather than being judged as an insider who will not tackle real issues.

Tom Ryan The GAA's Director-General Tom Ryan. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“I think it’s probably a little unfair to reach those conclusions before somebody has even started in the position but it’s up to me and it’s incumbent upon me to make my mark on the thing while I’m there.

“I am an insider to the extent that I have worked here for the last, whatever it is, 10 or 11 years, but I think that’s not necessarily and shouldn’t be presented as an impediment to getting things done or achieving things or to perhaps changing things.

“I’d like to think that I have a little bit of insight into how the GAA works and how change can be brought about in an organisation that is I suppose, of its nature it is inherently conservative but that’s not a bad thing and I have vision to the extent that I think I’m in a good position that I work at both ends of the spectrum if you like.

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“I’m here trying to do my best from nine to whatever time it tends to be in the evening time in a day job and I’m also trying to do my best in a small or medium-sized club (Faughs hurling club in Dublin where he coaches and is club treasurer) that faces all of the issues that every club in the Association faces in terms of participation, in terms of retaining players, in terms of fixtures. It’s not really what I say, it’s what I do that’s going to count.

“The thinking I will bring to it is not purely financial. It’s not even financial at all and I have a little job of work to do to distance myself from that financial debate and those financial questions and you will see that hopefully happening over the course of the next months ahead.”

Tom Ryan Tom Ryan and GAA President John Horan at today's media briefing. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Ryan will be focusing on the impending championship season as the GAA will be getting accustomed to new championship structures but he is conscious of club issues that must be tackled.

“Fixtures are the buzzword in terms of the club player. To espouse a predictable and reasonable and fair and balanced programme for club players is not an unreasonable position for anyone to adopt

“I think the Association has made strides towards that in recent years, more recently with the changes that we have brought about to the championship structure, I think we’ll see the results of that as this three-year programme unfolds. We will be able to gauge the merits of how that has worked.

“Quite apart from fixtures there is the question of emphasis in total in that the county game does predominate, it captures most of the attention, most of the resources, most of the time, and you would like to see over the course of the coming years where some of that balance is addressed a little bit and I don’t just mean in the context of players but also volunteers and club officers and officials who are keeping the show on the road.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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