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Analysis rather than action the test for Sky

By John Campbell

Let's be charitable and put it down to early teething problems. No sooner had Sky Sports secured a lucrative deal with the GAA authorities that encompasses live games, their marketing machine moved into overdrive.

But perhaps it had not been as well-oiled as was first thought.

It was rather surprising to hear Mayo's high-profile forward Cillian O'Connor referred to as 'Sillian' and it was an even bigger shock to discover that tonight's debut fixture live broadcast between KiIkenny and Offaly was a Connacht senior football championship match when it is a Leinster hurling championship tie.

It remains to be seen, of course, if Sky has bitten off more than it can chew but suffice to say the cynics will tune into tonight's clash at Nowlan Park prepared to engage in a robust critique of a match which Kilkenny, All-Ireland champions in six of the past 10 years, are expected to win handsomely.

Former Clare hurler Jamsie O'Connor and Tipperary legend Nicky English will be to the fore as analysts for a confrontation which is accompanied by a David v Goliath label.

For all that, Sky still has the potential to become a big player in the live televising of major championship fixtures.

The move is not totally without precedent as fellow subscription channel Setanta Sports have had exclusive rights to Saturday night Allianz League matches for a number of years though extending that arrangement to Championship matches with Sky marks a new departure.

Whether Sky, for all its acknowledged professionalism in other sports, can come up with the right mix of erudite, colourful, informative and, yes, controversial analysis of games remains to be seen – and it will ultimately be on this that it will stand or fall at the end of the day.

Belfast Telegraph


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