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Kingdom hat-trick on cards says Brian

By John Campbell

The definitive 2007 Championship publication is now to hand.

And this means that Brian Carthy has once again spent countless hours compiling match statistics, reports and comment.

This year's campaign provided plenty of highs and a few lows and Carthy encapsulates the entire season in his own inimitable way in his lavish 'The Championship' publications.

The popular RTE Gaelic Games correspondent and commentator is one of the most renowned authorities on all aspects of GAA having been a high-profile broadcaster for the best part of thirty years.

"It was a compelling season with Kerry retaining their All Ireland title, Kilkenny again proving supreme in hurling and some other counties coming through strongly," says Carthy.

In this respect, he highlights the performance of Monaghan in bursting through to the closing stages of the All Ireland series, lauding their enterprise and style.

And the detailed results and analysis provide an at-a-glance overview of the championship.

"I never cease to be amazed at the number of people who put such store by statistics and match details. That's why I endeavour to be as accurate as humanly possible. There is no doubt that the All Ireland Championship series in both football and hurling have scaled a new peak and interest has never been higher," comments Carthy, a native of Ballymore, near Strokestown in Roscommon.

Indeed, with more matches likely to be shown live - on more stations, too - the 2008 All Ireland Championship holds rich promise.

Can Kerry make it three football titles on the trot?

"Declan O'Sullivan led them well this year and who knows they could maybe land the hat-trick. They have Ciaran Donaghy, Dara O Se, Tomas O Se, Aidan O'Mahoney, Tom O'Sullivan, Colm Cooper and the rest all in there," suggests Carthy, "But there are one or two Ulster sides who will surely have something to say about that!"

Meanwhile, the GAA is edging closer to completing the overall sale of its All Ireland championship television rights to three different takers.

It has already been confirmed that TV3 have agreed to pay around €6 million for what has been termed "the number three package" which will result in RTE having to share the All-Ireland championship coverage for the first time.

But it's the top two packages which will prove the most lucrative for the GAA, and will probably bring the Association's total media earnings over the next three years to something like €25m.

The television rights negotiations with RTE and Setanta will resume after Christmas and GAA President Nickey Brennan has revealed that a deal will be struck "soon"

RTE's last one-year deal for the total championship rights package was around €R4 million. But under the new arrangement, there are 25 packages in total divided among television, radio, internet and overseas coverage.

UTV can now show clips of championship games, while Today FM have acquired the rights for "score flashes". RTE have also secured three sets of radio broadcast rights and one for "video-on-demand".

Belfast Telegraph


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