Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Biting Back: Royal approval for hurling

Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Edinburgh Castle to attend a commemorative service for the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 3, 2014. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Edinburgh Castle to attend a commemorative service for the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 3, 2014. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

So, The Queen loves her hurling. Presumably, she accepts the fact that as a true hurling snob, she feels there is no fouling, need for a black card, nor tactics in hurling.

The reason for her interest emerges as GAA President Liam O'Neill revealed that she had been watching recently and marvelled at the skills and the speed of the game.

It's doubtful whether she would have been pushed to watch hurling, only for its' presence on Sky Sports.

In recent times, it has become fashionable among some GAA members to criticise the association they belong to for allowing Sky to screen GAA matches.

Their opposition does not take into account that the games in question would not have seen the light of day, given that the sporting budgets of other broadcasters had been blown on World Cup rights.

Having watched the Monaghan and Armagh match twice on Sky after reporting on it live, I have to say I am a fan of their coverage. I love the way they are doing things a little different, getting in close to the players during the warm-up, showing us close-ups of the players and managers in times of great stress and pressure.

I also enjoy the way they analyse a game, with the likes of Jamesie O'Connor and Peter Canavan telling us how and why a game is being won and lost.

Opponents of the deal point to the small viewing figures, which fail to take into account those watching in pubs and clubs, or even HD.

But if this is to be a success, it will be a grower. Right now, they are going about it the right way.

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