Antrims once in a life time, for most, run in the All-Ireland Football Championship came to an end last Sunday. For many it was among their best and most unexpected experiences. The absolute disbelief over them getting to an Ulster Final after many years in the wilderness, playing well against the current champions and then some level of hope coming up to facing Kerry, one of the best teams to grace the competition ever.Many ended up disappointed/furious with the non-TV coverage/efforts at transport for what was Antrims 2nd most important match in 38yrs, the Round 4 qualifier with a Quarter Final and match at Croke Park as the prize.
Clubs across the county had run increasing numbers of buses during the Ulster Championship but once it hit Round 4 these buses evaporated. Non-drivers were left to trawl GAA websites, plead for a space on a family friendly bus to Tullamore and while Kerry had such buses run by the County, Antrim fans with children were left with the option of getting on a bus with drinkers, begging for a lift or not watching on TV.
‘Not’ watching TV was raised in todays ATN by Fra McCann, the BBC pointed out they werent contractually obliged to broadcast the match and declared they would be putting it out on radio. Not the FM channel people found, thats the one that can be picked up easily and of course was given over to Hugo Duncan but MW – try picking that up.
So RTE came to the rescue with a live web stream didnt they? Well a live web stream that wasnt available in the 6 counties unless you contact your ISP and got them to get in touch with RTE to unblock your address – doesnt work and they know it.
So, lesson learnt – if you want to follow Antrim, or any team from the north dont be counting on the GAA, RTE or BBC to help out – learn to drive or find a mate with a car and get there. It is the only option and a bloody disgrace. Or just hold out for some schools rugby or Gary Lineker in a big balloon – you’ll get that easy for your licence fee.
(Though it’s a credit to the Antrim fans that managed to get there – I’m gutted it didn’t work out for me and I couldn’t get to experience any of it properly due to both broadcasters treating Gaelic games and Antrim as an afterthought)