I recently spoke with a Canadian friend of mine who couldn’t quite believe that Gaelic games were replayed rather than being decided on the day by ‘over-time’ or ‘shoot-outs’. I tried to explain it to him without being too cynical regarding extra ‘pay-days’ for the GAA. I failed miserably.
While I agree that some replays are much better games than the original day out, I had to swallow hard when leaving Pearse Stadium last Sunday. The traffic jams, terrible weather, poor game and soggy sandwiches weren’t exactly highlights I was looking forward to replaying the following week.
Granted, MacHale Park in good weather should allow for a much better spectacle while also being slightly easier to enter and exit, but it still doesn’t make up for the fact that many fans paid good money for last Sunday’s game. Not to mention giving an entire day to travel to the next county over for a game of football.
Those fans will also be forced to do it again due to the fact that this Sunday’s replay will not be televised on terrestrial TV. Surely there’s a rule somewhere whereby RTE must televise the replay after showing the original? I’m a Dub, but a Connacht Final between two evenly enough matched teams is far more appealing than watching Dublin eviscerate poor Westmeath. Hand-passing aside, Roscommon v Galway following the criticism of last weekend’s game is far more compelling. 26 Roscommon men out to prove a point against a Galway team capable of turning over Mayo is something I want to watch. If there must be a replay, then at least replay it on TV!
Back to my Canadian friend and his talk of ‘over-time’ and ‘shoot-outs’, over-time wouldn’t necessarily provide a winner on the day, but a ‘shoot-out’ might put an end to lateral hand-passing at least!