If The GAA Wants To Promote Hurling, Why Is The Joe McDonagh Cup Final Not Being Shown Live

18 June 2018; Joe McDonagh Cup finalists Tommy Doyle of Westmeath and Diarmuid Byrne of Carlow during the unveiling of the Joe McDonagh and the launch of the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cup Finals at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

By Mark Casserly

The Joe McDonagh Cup Final will take place on Sunday at Croke Park as a curtain-raiser to the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Final. Westmeath and Carlow will compete to become the inaugural winners of the competition in what will be there 4th meeting of the year. In what is likely to be a close and thrilling encounter, it is a shame that there will be no live coverage of the game on TV. For the amount of time and effort that the players put in, it should only be fair to give them an opportunity to show their talent and skill to a national audience.

The Joe McDonagh Cup has been a wonderful competition with all teams Kerry, Laois, Antrim, Meath and the 2 finalists deserving huge credit for the way the games were played and they entertainment they brought to supporters. One of the best games of hurling I ever witnessed was Westmeath’s 2-19 to 1-20 win over Antrim at TEG Cusack Park. In a game that had everything you could ask for, fantastic goals, long-range points, brilliant individual displays, a thrilling comeback, a red card and a last-minute winner, it was such a pity that not 1 minute of the match was shown on RTE’s The Sunday Game or on any Sky Sports highlights programme.

If the aim of the GAA is to promote hurling in these counties, it would be much more of a benefit to give these hard-working players there chance in the limelight rather than showing over 20 minutes of highlights of a game that was already shown live just a few hours earlier. The number of scores in the competition have shown the the amount of skill on show. Carlow have scored 2-25, 3-21, 0-21, 0-21 and 0-19 in there 5 games with Westmeath notching up 4-24, 2-21, 2-19, 1-21 and 2-12.  Carlow and Westmeath also met in the Division 2A league decider in March, once again earning little or no recognition for their achievements if it hadn’t been for TG4.

It was great to see last weekends Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Megaher Cup finals getting some coverage  thanks to TG4’s live streaming on their Youtube channel, but surely it wouldn’t have hurt The Sunday Game to show more than 4 minutes from the games which saw Kildare, Donegal and Sligo being crowned winners with English-based sides London, Lancashire and Warwickshire all taking part in deciders. For this TG4 deserves a lot of credit.

On Sunday, the Munster and Leinster Senior Hurling Championship finals will no doubt get all the attention. As a result, players such as Westmeath’s Tommy Doyle, Aonghus Clarke and Niall O’Brien and Carlow’s Denis Murphy, James Doyle and Chris Nolan won’t get the appreciation they and their teams deserve.

More respect must be shown to these players!!!!!