I see that TV3 have landed one of the packages of live championship matches for 2008, comprising at least 10 live and exclusive matches over the next three years. This means that TV3 will broadcast two provincial finals in 2008, thus breaking RTE's age-old hegemony in this area.
This has got to be good news. Monopolies are, in general, bad for the ordinary punter while competition, by and large, delivers a superior outcome all round. The record of Irish monopolies is particularly poor, that of Irish public sector ones is, well, shite. RTE's live TV coverage of gaelic games has always been, at best, fairly complacent, pedestrian and lazy. While they've faced limited competition from the BBC in recent years in relation to the Ulster championship, this coverage has been totally focused through the prism of Norn Iron and the lads could have been talking about tiddlywinks for all the relevance that it has had to the wider GAA scene. As such, the Beeb's coverage never made any attempt to tackle Monstrose's championship offering head-on. TV3's will and so this first serious attempt to muscle in on RTE's erstwhile monopoly patch should be the root up the hole that RTE need to up their game significantly.
Elsewhere, Hogan Stand is reporting that Ronan McGarritty has been shortlisted for the award of Mayo club footballer of the year. This is a punter-driven poll, run by the Mayo News and the others on the shortlist are David Brady, Kenny Golden, John Brogan and David Tiernan. Vote early and vote often, as the old Sinn Fein mantra used to go.