TV3 HAS SAID it is considering retaining the Irish language commentary for the GAA’s All-Ireland finals at minor grade, which it will begin airing from next year onward.
The GAA today confirmed that the commercial broadcaster had picked up the rights to both the Hurling and Football minor finals, traditionally held by RTÉ, as well as an improved package of senior fixtures, having acquired ‘package 2′ which includes two of the four All-Ireland quarter-finals in football.
RTÉ, having up to now carried both the minor and senior All-Ireland finals in both codes, had previously broadcast all minor fixtures – including the All-Irelands – through Irish with commentator Micheál Ó Sé, as a nod to the GAA’s cultural heritage.
The fact that the games would now be taken over by TV3 had raised some fears that the games may no longer be carried in Irish – but this afternoon a TV3 spokeswoman told TheJournal.ie that the broadcaster had not yet made a decision on whether it would ditch the gaeilge.
“The tradition is something we’re very conscious of, and it’s something that’s under consideration,” the spokeswoman said, though adding that the decision on whether the Irish would be retained had not yet been made.
TG4 have retained the rights, meanwhile, to broadcast club and colleges games, and will now also carry live games on Wednesday nights from third-level competitions and the under-21 football championships.
RTÉ has retained the TV rights to air the All-Ireland finals, semi-finals and the bulk of both the hurling and championship fixtures in football and hurling, as well as first-choice rights to carry live radio commentary.
For the first time, independent radio broadcaster Newstalk will broadcast live commentary of games, having been awarded live broadcast rights for second-choice Championship games.
GAA president Christy Cooney said the new broadcast package, which would see 40 Championship games carried live on TV each year – just under half of the 83 games taking place in both championships – said the package struck “the correct balance between showing live games and our commitment to supporting club activity.”