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'I can't wait for the UK reaction to players getting walloped and pretending they're not hurt'

Niall Quinn is looking forward to seeing British people’s response to GAA this summer.

Sky Sports football pundit Niall Quinn.
Sky Sports football pundit Niall Quinn.

SKY SOCCER PUNDIT Niall Quinn says he is looking forward to seeing the reaction to GAA as it’s set to be shown to a wider audience encompassing Britain as well as Ireland this summer.

The ex-Dublin minor hurler, who has ruled himself out of contributing to Sky’s coverage of the sport, believes the players’ diligence and refusal to exaggerate injuries will provide a refreshing antidote for UK audiences all too accustomed to the diving and cheating that’s currently prevalent in British football.

“I can’t wait for the UK reaction to players getting walloped and pretending they’re not hurt at all,” he said. “It’s going to be so different.

“I did the Arsenal-Hull game shortly after it was announced and it wasn’t the most dynamic game, so I found myself talking about GAA on air with the commentator. I said when you see this, you’re in for a shock. Players hide their injuries and don’t go rolling around. So that’s going to be interesting and a lot of people in England will pat GAA players on the back for that.

“I did a fans’ forum recently and the one thing that kept coming out was players’ diving and feigning injury, and guys getting penalties when they shouldn’t. I can assure you they’ll be doing the exact opposite of that in GAA.”

Quinn also dismissed recent criticism of the Sky deal, saying that the move will ultimately be of benefit to the sport.

“I’m delighted they see themselves as becoming a friend of the GAA. They’re not the giant coming in that are going to manipulate and dominate the game as some people think.

“I’ve spent 30 years telling everyone in England that, despite what you think of soccer, despite what you think of the Premier League, we have two brilliant sports in Ireland. That was my instant reaction — we have this brilliant sport on our doorstep and up to 10 million viewers can watch our sport and what we know is a brilliant thing.

“Aside from that, the production will be first class. It might take a little bit of time to get there as the guys who do the production find their way, but they’ll understand and get what the GAA is about very quickly.”

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Quinn also played down concerns that certain GAA fans would be unable to afford seeing their team play.

“The counter argument to people not being able to afford it is that Sky are looking to put the packages into affiliated GAA clubs at a knockdown rate, and I think that will soften the argument. It’s on in your local GAA club.”

Rachel Wyse Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

(Niall Quinn has tipped Rachel Wyse to be a success in her role as Sky’s GAA presenter)

The former Ireland striker also backed presenter Rachel Wyse in the wake of high-profile criticism of her from RTÉ analyst Joe Brolly earlier this week.

“I’ve never met Rachel Wyse but she’s someone I know of from behind the scenes at Sky. She’s someone they think an awful lot of.

“It’s very difficult for women breaking into business, breaking into sport. She’s cracked it and she’s a great ambassador for Irish sport, so I’m really pleased she’s going to be the face of GAA in the UK.

“She’s very professional and I know the bigwigs in Sky think very highly of her and she will bring nothing but professionalism to it. Joe Brolly made his comment and retracted it very quickly, and I think that in itself shows you everyone knows Rachel is top class and she can hold her own in any sport, particularly GAA. And Brian Carney’s a good guy too — he does some rugby, but he’s a GAA man at heart. And then the rest of them, Nicky English, who I know very well, Paul Earley, people like that — they just want to promote the sport to a wider audience.”

Niall will be commentating for Sky Sports on the Ireland v Turkey friendly match from the Aviva Stadium this Sunday from 6pm.

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