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Not exactly a feast of football

Austin O'Callaghan | 20:46 UK time, Monday, 17 May 2010

The way to a TV man's heart is through his belly. And the best way to ensure the BBC Championship outside broadcast crew put in a Championship performance at a live game is to feed them beforehand.

Food is routinely organised for the cameramen, rigging crew and production staff at or near the ground on the morning of a match.

So, we rolled into Celtic Park first thing in Sunday morning to find the BBC catering, which had been prepared and laid out in the old physio room, had already been eaten.

Derry's Eoin Bradley and Andy Mallon in a preliminary round tussle at Celtic Park

The culprits? The men in bibs. Ulster's hard working championship stewards who, completely innocently, helped themselves to the grub unaware that the catering was in fact for someone else.

I know what you are thinking. Fair play to the stewards for spotting a free breakfast at the Beeb's expense! And we had a good chuckle about it too. The catering man was quickly dispatched to retrieve a fresh round of ham sandwiches and soon everyone was happy.

As for the football, the Armagh v Derry has come in for a fair bit of stick in terms of quality.

Almost every media pundit I have read or listened to has criticised it. But I do wonder if we expect too much from the opening match of the summer.

Remember what the bottom line for these teams is. It isn't flair. It isn't dazzle. It's winning. Let us wait and judge Armagh and Derry at the end of June rather than on 16 May.

The new rules have caused new confusion. Managers, players, pundits seem very unhappy.

I do not blame Croke Park for tinkering with the rules. Granted, they may have gone a little too far with some of technical changes recently (the new handpass rule is a case in point).

But I do think there is too much resistance to change sometimes. The modern game has problems - especially when it comes to discipline.

It seems to me that for some GAA people there is an unwritten rule which says if you finish your intercounty career with a full set of teeth, then you haven't been a proper footballer at all.

Now, I am not for a minute suggesting that we take the physicality out of gaelic football. But deliberate fouling has to be tackled head-on.

I accept that confusion over the new rules contributed to the 36 yellow cards and five red ones handed out across the three football championship matches at the weekend.

But can it all be put down to referee interpretation?


  • Comment number 1.

    I just want to point out that I dont normally post messages on these kind of boards but I was not satisfied with Austins blog dealng with the discpline.
    Yes of course the GAA is not perfect when it comes to discipline, and the game on Sunday proves that. However it is the perception of the wider GAA community that the BBC tends to jump on the "Bandwagon" when it comes to covering the discipline issues within the game. For example you highlighted that there is an "unwritten rule" which says if you finish your intercounty career with a full set of teeth, then you haven't been a proper footballer at all, well this is the first time I have herd this rule. Don't get me wrong I know that the GAA is far from perfect but the BBC has to show the brighter aspects of the game. The coverage of the Down v Armagh league final was appauling, around 30 seconds or so if im not mistaken. The BBC needs to realise that wether they like it or not, the GAA is one of the biggest if not thee biggest sport in the North. The sooner they do the better!

  • Comment number 2.

  • Comment number 3.

    I do believe we got to cut down on persistant fouling but games are hard to get into when the refs are stoping it every 90 seconds at least 50 frees in Sundays Armagh and Derry game enough said let them play

  • Comment number 4.

    In response to Austins comments, I think the media up and down the country are primarily to blame for forcing scrutiny of games to a ridiculous level, for forcing the revision of rules and pressure on referees to enforce the almost unenforceable. It is this that is the greatest threat to our games as a spectacle.

    The great games of times gone by were riddled with technical fouls but were let go to the benefit of all. The pressure to call every single foul is destroying the game. The playing population, should you consult them will let you know its of no benefit to them either.



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