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RTÉ eager to avoid rugby final clash with hurling quarter-finals

Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney will have an extra day to prepare his team for their rematch with Donegal next weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Colm Keys

The first All-Ireland hurling quarter-final could have an early Saturday afternoon throw-in because of a TV scheduling commitment to broadcast the URC final.

The rugby final is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, June 18 at 7pm and could be in Dublin if Leinster, as highest ranked team, win their semi-final.

RTÉ have a commitment to broadcast the final live but also have the rights to the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals which will involve Wexford or Kerry against Clare in one with Cork or Antrim playing Galway in the other.

In the unlikely even that RTÉ 1 and RTÉ 2 could broadcast sports events at the same time on a Saturday evening, the hurling is likely to start earlier with no option to switch to Sunday because of a commitment to play the Tailteann Cup semi-finals in the prime Sunday afternoon slots.

Armagh have been given an extra day to prepare for their second round qualifier with Donegal in Clones on Sunday, ensuring that one of the two all Division 1 games that were drawn will remain free-to-air.

Sky Sports have the first two picks for the second round qualifiers, just as they had for the fourth round qualifiers in the past, and were understood to be keen to have Donegal/Armagh on the same Saturday evening billing as Mayo/Kildare.

But because of a commitment to give seven days, where possible, to teams who have played previous rounds on a Sunday Armagh/Donegal has been fixed accordingly, putting Clare and Roscommon as the first ‘Sky’ game from Croke Park on Saturday. It was a 3.45pm throw in with Mayo and Kildare at 6pm.

When Sky Sports broadcast the Dublin/Wexford Leinster quarter-final on a Saturday evening earlier in the season, Wexford only had six days to prepare after beating Offaly in their opening round.

The GAA, meanwhile, are expected to get more information this week on the technical glitches that impacted on the use of Hawk-Eye in Croke Park and Thurles over the weekend.

The technology had been called into action to adjudicate on a TJ Reid free during the Leinster final between Kilkenny and Galway on Saturday night. Eventually a declaration was made that it was “unavailable” with a suggestion that an image of the ball passing the posts could not be captured accurately at that exact moment. Eventually Reid’s shot was declared wide by the officials.

In Thurles on Sunday a Tony Kelly free also went upstairs where, after over a minute, it was eventually declared wide too. But the information was conveyed on the scoreboard and not the big screen where it normally appears and where everyone in the ground had been watching.

The GAA are confident however that the incidents are isolated and that Hawk-Eye will provide its regular service in future games.

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