Saturday night’s Leinster Hurling semi final replay will not be televised live due to scheduling clashes with Sky Sports’ coverage of the Ulster football semi final between Monaghan and Armagh; the World Cup; racing from the Curragh and because of the wishes of the two teams.
RTE Sport approached the Leinster Council of the GAA yesterday with a view to televising the rematch of what was the game of the season so far.
With World Cup commitments as well as live coverage of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, they requested a 2.30pm throw in to facilitate a live showing.
The Leinster Council though felt this would be too early and would place pressure on fans getting to the game, local businesses in Tullamore and the players. Both counties also expressed an unwillingness to play so early in the afternoon on a Saturday.
RTE confirmed last night that there would be no streaming coverage of the match either, meaning the only way to see it will be to attend the match live.
Recent replays between Dublin and Wexford and Cork and Waterford have been covered on the internet and this match would have drawn a bumper online audience but contractual arrangements prevent the simultaneous transmission of one live match against another on a different station.
Sunday’s crowd was a little over 12,000 and ticket prices for the replay have been reduced leading to an expectation that the ground will fill to capacity. O’Connor Park has a capacity of 20,000.
The importance of Saturday’s game was increased following the draw for the first round of hurling qualifiers, which pitched the losers into an all or nothing clash away to Tipperary on Saturday evening July 5th.
That match will be televised by Sky Sports and regardless of which team goes down this weekend it will set a new viewing record among Irish subscribers, 32,000 of whom watched the first game shown on the station between Kilkenny and Offaly.
That number only includes Irish residential subscribers and does not include viewers in pubs, or in the UK where the matches are also shown across the network on Sky Sports 3. The irish figures for the next two games shown by Sky in the 7pm slot fell to 18,000 but those will rise as the ‘must see’ games start on Saturday week.