Donal Óg Cusack and Jackie Tyrrell launch passionate hurling defence
"We've now given over 2023 to rugby country."
In Donal Óg Cusack and Jackie Tyrrell, you will do well to find two more passionate hurling men.
Put them on a panel together and what you have is magic. Donal Óg was on one on Sunday night. There is no other way of saying it.
RTÉ are his paymasters and Declan McBennett, it would seem, is his boss, but that didn’t stop the legendary Cork ‘keeper from speaking his mind - even if that did require something of a rant at his own higher-ups.
And he had plenty on his mind.
Hurling people have slowly but surely had their gears ground over the last few weeks. A predictably sensational Munster championship yet, three rounds in, only two matches have been shown on live terrestrial tv. It feels like it's slipping by.
Yes, GAA GO is there but it’s only in its infancy. And, as you would expect, some people just don’t know how to use it. It's led to thrilling games like Tipperary vs Cork and Clare vs Limerick going under the radar.
Donal Óg is not happy. Jackie Tyrrell is not happy. The Rebel led the charge.
"Hurling needs oxygen," began Donal Óg.
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"I have no issue with pay-per-view. It's part of the landscape and it has its role to play. But by next weekend, when Clare play Waterford, four of the biggest Munster hurling championship will have been on pay-per-view.
"You'd have to ask, who is accountable for the promotion of hurling. Because whoever it is, is not doing a good job? You'd have to question, are RTE and the GAA exploiting hurling? It looks very like they're using hurling to get this joint-venture (GAA GO) off the ground."
"We've lost a huge opportunity over the last number of weeks, and I would say, at this stage, that the GAA have failed hurling."
Jackie Tyrrell compared the paltry hurling coverage so far this year to the coverage its counterpart in Gaelic football gets.
"The Munster hurling championship is the jewel in the crown of the hurling world and yet two of the best games this year have been on GAA GO," said the Kilkenny man.
No issue with GAA GO. The Tailteann Cup final was on last year.
"Like we're struggling to get our main games on, yet the Tailteann Cup can take precedence. The Joe McDonagh is an outstanding competition. But there's not a hope of that getting on," he added.
Last word to Donal Óg.
"Last year, we had an All-Ireland quarter-final played at lunchtime on a Saturday, imagine that."
"The last point I'll make on it Jackie. I sat over there and the head of sport in RTÉ was here, and you were here. And I said that, given what was coming over the last number of weeks, we should put a little rugby ball over in the corner of the screen up there," he added.
"We've now given over 2023 to rugby country," he added.
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