TV View: Sky Sports pundits offer balanced view of Cork football

Jim McGuinness, Peter Canavan and Stephen Rochford were the analysts at Croke Park
TV View: Sky Sports pundits offer balanced view of Cork football

Cian Kiely after defeat to Dublin at Croke Park. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

THE Cork footballers were broadcast to the masses on RTÉ against Limerick in the last outing. 

That punditry team's negative attitude would have had you thinking Cork were beaten out the gate, particularly Colm O'Rourke. O'Rourke and co constantly said Cork should be trailing at half-time but couldn't give any insight why they actually led. 

This was in stark contrast to the Sky Sports coverage against Dublin.
Even though that one positive doesn't make up for the many people who missed out on watching the two biggest GAA counties (by club count) face-off. The punditry team were still in boisterous mood after the previous game's goal-fest. Jim McGuinness and Peter Canavan walked the tightrope of acknowledging the strong likelihood of a Dublin win, whilst still building up the game as an interesting spectacle

McGuinness noted how Cork had stuck in the Kerry game by employing a sweeper system that negated a lot of Kerry's efforts. Within minutes though, Canavan and McGuinness noted how Dublin's new style attack was a nightmare for sweepers to deal with. 

The analysts give with the one hand and taketh away with the other.
The other key point that Canavan highlighted on his personal screen was the importance of kick-outs and how Cork couldn't give up the amount of free possession they did previously against Limerick. A good bit of time was given over to this so no doubt this would be a key focus of the live match coverage. 

Alas not.
The most infuriating piece of the Sky coverage wasn't commentary or punditry. It was the consistent missing of the Dublin kick-outs. As with almost each wide or score; there would be a series of shots of the umpires; the shooter running back. 

At least two crowd shots and maybe a replay. By then, Dublin would regularly be sauntering past halfway with the viewer none the wiser of how the kick-out played out, though for this game it wasn't too hard to guess.
At half-time Cork were still in the game; trailing by three points. 

Stephen Rochford, who was very much the quiet man of the pundits noted an area where Cork could take advantage. "Hurley has the beating of Eoin Murchan; if they could get strike runners off him. there could be goal opportunities." 

GEARS

McGuinness noted that Cork would be happy at half-time, but that Dublin still could go up a few gears. The 50th minute was the big moment for McGuinness. If Cork were still in the game by then, it could be interesting. As the second half started; that 50-minute mark became the moment to look out for as optimism about keeping in the game crept in. 

Former Ireland and Manchester United footballer Roy Keane supports Cork against Dublin at Croke Park. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Former Ireland and Manchester United footballer Roy Keane supports Cork against Dublin at Croke Park. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Well, not for long as Dublin extended their lead to eight points by then, "without changing gear" according to commentator David McIntyre. Now it was the playing-time since Cork's last score that McIntyre frequently noted before it finally came: "24 and half minutes since their previous one."
So the game petered out. McIntyre being a tad optimistic saying some Cork fans may still believe at the hour-mark. Naturally, the post-game focus was on Dublin and whether they would win Sam back. 

Canavan was far less impressed than McGuinness; while quiet-man Rochford; I can't recall which way he swayed if he did at all.
Canavan did leave Cork with one highlight of Sean Powter; showing the Douglas man winning possession and charging past several Dublin players. 

Cork fans may be left none the wiser about how to feel about the campaign after all that, but it felt a lot less draining than RTE's recent effort. 

Is that in itself worth the subscription fee: probably not.

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