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Sky’s still not the limit when it comes to GAA

Dave O'Connell



The Sky Sports GAA team

There’s still something slightly unsettling about watching GAA on Sky Sports.

Nothing wrong with the camera angles or even the commentary most of the time, and the guests are household names from the worlds of hurling and football – but it’s still a little like drinking Heineken when your brother works for Guinness.

RTÉ has been the home of the GAA from a television standpoint ever since the channel came on air – and even then it was just adding pictures to the voice of Micheal O’Hehir who’d already been in situ since the dawning of time.

And as TV3 found out in the past, it’s hard for viewers to get out of the habit – although if anyone can do it, Sky can. But they’re not there yet.

For a start, it’s hard to take anchorwoman Rachel Wyse seriously; not for the sexist reasons expounded by Joe Brolly, but simply because her depth of GAA knowledge seems puddle-deep. And were someone to remove her statistics, she’d be left without a crutch to traverse what is already a difficult half-time break for her.

Former rugby league star Brian Carney is a little better, but not much.There are times it would make you pine for Darragh Moloney – and that’s saying something.

The studio analysts have all of the big game experience you’d ever require from a panel – Jamesie O’Connor, Peter Canavan, Paul Earley, Nicky English and our own Ollie Canning know their stuff by any yardstick.

But some of them are more pre-occupied with getting a go on the big screen – with its little rings to show where players are standing and its bolts of blue from the sky or snail-like blue lines to illustrate another mazy run.

It’s all a little forced and stilted, mainly because the presenters lack any real passion for what is unfolding in front of them – and then there’s the occasional commentator who is simply trying too hard.

Dublin’s Senan Connell, for example, endured a sort of Phil Neville meltdown on social media over his attempts at analysis in Cork’s recent qualifier win over Sligo. Neville was rounded on because he was sleep-inducing during his own outing at the World Cup for the BBC, but Connell’s problem was that he seemed to have only one word to sum up good play.

“Quality” was his word of choice, and it became so repetitive that there were suggestions it should be turned into a drinking game – except that if you took a slug for every ‘quality’ quip, you’d be unable to remember your own name by half-time.

Nicky English was a great hurler, but he could as easily have been a curate giving out long sermons; he just doesn’t capture the passion of the game he knows so well, no matter how he tries. In many ways, Sky’s coverage has worked in RTÉ’s favour because it’s shown how good some of its contributors are.

You won’t beat Marty Morrissey for colour and drama; Ger Canning has the calmness and authority that a lifetime of experience brings; and while Pat Spillane and Joe Brolly can be utterly infuriating, nobody could ever accuse them of sitting on the fence.

Cyril Farrell and Michael Duignan read a game, and spot the trends almost before something happens – it’s all so seamless and familiar, and that’s what Sky is up against.

Connacht Tribune

Live album looks after those who make it real




Mick Flannery….album for the crew.

Anyone who has seen Mick Flannery play live will know that the Corkman doesn’t embrace the spotlight with both arms. There is a sincerity to what he does – his reluctance to operate as any sort of frontman is only outweighed by passion for his craft.

His shows are intimate and they’re backed up by a studio-quality sound and a genuine engagement between artist and audience. It is what happens when someone who doesn’t like talking about themselves ends up pouring their heart out on stage.

It is fitting, then, that Mick’s new album revolves around the people around him. All of the proceeds for Alive – Cork Opera House 2019, the singer-songwriter’s first live LP, will be shared among members of his band and crew who have lost work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a major gesture from a modest talent and Mick is quick to point out that the album reflects just how much he owes to those that share his stage.

“I’m glad that it’s there as a tribute to them,” he says of the album. “I think Alan Comerford had a great gig that night on electric guitar with the solos that he played. Matthew Berrill was on the brass and he did some lovely stuff.

“There’s a few of the lads in the band who have music as their sole income. It’s not always easy to do that. It’s constantly booking gigs in bars around the place and that but it’s what they do and it’s what they have a passion for. They’ve worked hard to do what they love for a living and now these circumstances have taken that away.

“I have a kind of area to pivot – I can start writing songs and preparing albums whereas for the crew, without the live gigs their skillset is not being used at all… Lighting engineers and sound engineers, riggers, people that have built up PA companies over the years and small venues as well.”

For full interview, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connecting children with classical music




Connecting Kids with ConTempo is a four-week initiative designed to help children engage with classical music in a fun and creative way.

Beginning this Friday at 11am, the scheme, which is being run by the Galway Music Residency (GMR) will run over four Fridays.

The Galway Music Residency will release a video each week which will feature a short performance by ConTempo Quartet with an educational introduction. These videos will explore different aspects of classical music, from the composition of a string quartet to understanding a waltz.

The children will be asked to listen to the music on each video, with specific questions in mind and are then invited to respond creatively to ConTempo’s performance. They can do this through art, writing or anything else that comes naturally to them.

The children’s creations can be sent to GMR and will be displayed on its social media and website.

Connecting Kids with ConTempo is geared primarily at primary school children, but young people of all ages are encouraged to enjoy these beautiful performances and delve a little deeper into the listening experience, explains the General Manager of Galway Music Residency Maeve Bryan.

Connecting Kids with ConTempo can be found on GMR’s Facebook page (@thegalwaymusicresidency) or YouTube Channel (The Galway Music Residency).

It will take place this Friday, July 31, Friday, August 11, Friday, August 14 and Friday August 21, at 11am each day.

Participation is free, but donations are welcome and, according to Maeve, will help GMR to create more online educational content in these difficult times.

Donations can be made on individual Facebook posts or via

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Artist collective, Theatre57 now open to new members




Theatre-maker Róisín Stack, one of the founders of Theatre57.

Theatre57, the Galway theatre collective that launched last year with 57 members and now has more than 90, is currently inviting new people to join.

The group, which acts as a point of contact and an advocate for independent members of the Galway theatre community, is welcoming new and existing members. Performers, producers, directors, designers, technicians, playwrights and those who are pursuing a career in professional theatre outside of a regularly funded organisation are welcome to apply. Members must be making theatre in Galway city or county.

Theatre57’s main aim is the establishment of a hub for theatre-makers where creative and professional development can be nurtured.

The group’s members point out that while other cities such as Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Belfast and Dublin have these spaces, Galway does not. They believe that having such a space would allow people in the business to share their knowledge and would encourage professional and creative excellence. The result would be a stronger and more diverse theatre community throughout Galway.

Theatre57 “believes in creative autonomy, the spirit of co-operation and the power of community”, according to a spokesperson for the group who quotes the Irish-language statement ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’ which translates as ‘there is strength in numbers’.

The group has had a busy and productive 2020, liaising between and advocating for self-employed members of Galway theatre community, many of whose livelihoods have been seriously affected by Covid-19.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.


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