Ladies Gaelic Football and the Camogie Association have moved quickly to head off potential anger over the scheduling of All Ireland Semi Finals on the same day in August.
The situation has arisen over TV coverage which will be broadcast live for the Camogie on RTÉ and for the Ladies Football on TG4.
A major part of the promotion of the sports has been down to expanded access to a wider population through TV and close to a million viewers will have watched last year’s two All Ireland Finals, albeit two weeks apart and with a sole GAA spotlight on them.
That will hopefully be the same and more this year with the GAA moving the Men’s Finals forward and giving a free run at publicity and build up.
It is important though not to just drop in on one day a year and in recent years the build-up to the Camogie has expanded notably. RTÉ have pushed internally and externally to expand coverage and this year will show two semi-finals and two quarterfinals in the Championship.
TG4 have been long-term backers of ladies Football and extended their partnership through to 2022 earlier this year.
A joint statement issued yesterday evening confirmed that “due to live television broadcast commitments – Camogie with RTÉ and Ladies Football with TG4 – it is not possible for either Association to move their respective fixtures and therefore there remains a possibility that, dependent upon which counties reach these fixtures, that a fixture clash for some dual players may occur.”
“Whilst both Associations recognise and commend the dedication of all such dual players and work closely together to avoid such scenarios from arising, it is not always possible to do so in light of both Associations’ various commitments such as television coverage which aim to help to further promote and grow both sports respectively.”
“Both the Camogie Association and LGFA have been in contact with the respective County Boards and management teams in the past number of weeks to highlight these potential clashes so as to minimise the impact upon them.”
Cork is the most likely to be hit hardest with two players Libby Coppinger and Hannah Looney regular starters on both Camogie and Football.
There are those who will argue, vehemently, that it is the players that should come first and it is hard to argue but at the higher levels of the game, be they amateur or professional, the supporters also have to be considered if they are to be courted.
Broadcast coverage brings life and vigour to sport and guarantees that future players will be inspired to play in greater numbers. No doubt alternative solutions will have been sought and if there was to be any hope of a solution it is better it should be done now rather than in three weeks when teams are known.
It may not be and that would be a real shame for any players or teams affected but sport is tough at times. Injuries, illness and weather can wreck the best-laid plans. Unpredictability is what makes it so special in a world where surprise is a rarer than ever commodity. We cannot walk away from having our drama played out in front of the greatest number of people that want to see it.