Cumann Chat: Coverage conundrum, enigmatic Donegal and Dublin’s talent drain

A Coverage Conundrum

AT THE weekend I heard a comment on Sky Sports television that suggested that a tiered system was necessary to move away from the one-sided games. The point was expanded upon by explaining that any new tiered system needed to be promoted properly, the finals of such would have to be played at an important stage in the season and be given enough coverage to raise the teams’ and players’ profiles. I get that point, but who pays for the extra coverage? It’s not cheap setting up cameras, and organising rigging. TV companies certainly want live coverage but can they afford to cover the full All-Ireland series as well as a second tier? As well as that, surely if a game is to get the most profile then it would have to be free to air. Which leads me to the point, why would anyone on Sky Sports want to promote a free-to-air competition?

Donegal is an enigma

I CAN’T quite figure out this Donegal team. They have talented players in every position, but I’m yet to get the sense they can push for an All-Ireland title. It’s sort of their own fault I feel this way – they haven’t made an All-Ireland semi-final since the Jimmy McGuinness era (whereas Tyrone have reached the last four in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019). I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt for now, and really it’s just a sense of bewilderment that they haven’t done better. Maybe they’ll hammer Tyrone this weekend and I’ll be left looking foolish, not for the first time in my career or indeed, life. Ultimately the buck stops with Declan Bonner, but it’s not as if they’ve been poor in the last few years – they just can’t seem to make it to the latter stages of the All-Ireland. No time like the present I suppose.

Dublin’s talent drain

SO Eric Lowndes is the latest to leave the Dublin camp, and that’s another sign that maybe everything isn’t as rosy as we may think. Okay, how do you argue with a team that has won six All-Ireland titles in-a-row, but they are leaking key players. Lowndes wasn’t a guaranteed starter, but he could have been in line to see minutes with a few injuries creeping up in defence. Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion have also stepped away in recent times while Bernard Brogan, Eoghan O’Gara, Darren Daly, Diarmuid Connolly, Michael Darragh MacAuley, Paddy Andrews and Cian O’Sullivan have retired since Jim Gavin departed. Stephen Cluxton looks like he won’t be back either. Mayo and Kerry may be sniffing blood.

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