Are you ready to begin? Sunday marks the start of the 2019 All-Ireland football championship, yes the summer is here.
It’s hard to believe that Leitrim’s last gasp extra-time winner in the Bronx’s was 12 months ago and while Mayo travel there this Sunday, the excitement of an upset is missing.
That last gasp Noel Plunkett point was one of the opening segment’s in RTE’s latest look inside the GAA, when on Monday Dara O’Cinneide’s GAA Eile launched on RTE One.
Billed as the follow onto the utterly boring and in reality pointless 2017 series GAA Nua, which focused on technology change in the GAA, O’Cinneide promised to ask the question with GAA Eile, where is the GAA going in this commercial era?
Episode one saw O’Cinneide state the bleeding obvious, the championship starts in New York, Dublin are the best team, Carlow and Leitrim have no hope of winning the All-Ireland, but the fans love cheering on their team.
Zero learnt there. The next question why are the Dubs so good? Well low and behold, the answer was organisation, funding and a good manager.
I can see my license fee is certainly been spent on excellent investigative journalism.
One point was brazenly raised, between 1995 and 2011 Dublin won zero All-Ireland’s football titles.
Ok, between 2011 and 2018 Dublin have landed six All-Ireland titles, but let’s open the brackets here, in the 35-years between 1983 and 2018 Dublin have won eight titles.
While in the same bracket Kerry have won 10 All-Ireland’s, three of those by the way had Mr.O’Cinneide on the Croke Park field, but let’s not talk about that as it may just lose some of the narrative.
Surely a more prudent question to ask is why in that 35-year period have just 10 counties lifted Sam Maguire and of those, Derry and Armagh have registered one each, the rest are multiple winners.
While O’Cinneide to his credit, did question how the Dubs dominance hasn’t been more far reaching, he made no mention of the fact, that the Dublin training ground had two dressing room’s after 1995, one for those with All-Ireland winners medals and one for those without.
The sure presence of which, showed the weakness of Mickey Whelan who succeeded Dr. Pat O’Neill as Dublin manager after the All-Ireland success of 95.
After that 1995 success Dublin didn’t manage to win the Leinster championship until 2002, failing to even make the final in 97 or 98.
Yes in reality Mickey Whelan was a failure of a Dublin manager, Tommy Carr in reality was also, definitely in Whelan’s case he never won over the players, but that fact in today’s GAA analysis sphere is something that doesn’t want to be mentioned.
30-minutes after sitting through another lame duck RTE/BAI funded GAA production, I’m left with this hollow feeling.
The same hollow feeling I had after watching the propagandist, but well produced “The Game” documentary, screened last summer on RTE One which told us, how hurling is the greatest game in the world without question, because Cu Chulainn told us so.
My question remains then, why is such a great, encompassing game, a) not played outside Ireland and b) barren from counties Longford, Sligo, Cavan, Monaghan and Tyrone, et all.
There is only so much propaganda even Josef Bogel can stomach.
I’m biased I’ve been told, I’m a GAA commentator who supported the deal with Sky Sports and whisper it now, enjoys watching GAA games on Sky.
I don’t get upset when RTE announce their TV schedule, because if I really want to see a match, I’ll make my way to it, or there is another medium called the radio which will paint the game’s picture with elegance and beauty.
I’m not totally keen on changing the rules, I question why the opposition managers have not thought out a plan that could kill “puke football”, rather than scream at Croke Park for change.
Three shows remain in GAA Eile, will we get the answer of where the GAA is going? On the surface of episode one, possibly not.
Will O’Cinneide get a third series? This time possibly exploring the benefits of Gaelic Games in the Antarctic? Maybe, but there are better stories in GAA circles then this.
Prayers of the faithful and TG4’s Laochra Gael are prime examples of quality production and journalism meeting on screen.
Have no fear though, the summer is here and as with the usual suspect GAA television programme, expect the usual ranking the counties features appearing in print.
As if editors and journalists a like, wrote into their calendar on January one, time to rank the counties, with the shock headline of 2019, Dublin get top spot and New York spot 33.
Still and all, that empty April has only made me hungry for my summer of Gaelic Games.