Sports

RTE’s Des Cahill calls for change on The Sunday Game as he and team share frustration



Des Cahill misses the laughter and spontaneity of The Sunday Game because the programme doesn’t have room to breathe these days.

The sports broadcaster has been at the helm of RTÉ’s flagship GAA show for 15 seasons and a lot has changed over the years as the main competitions expand.

The biggest obstacle for Des and his team of pundits is the increasing number of games they have to cover in what is now a shorter championship season, reports RSVP Live.

Every week, Twitter and Facebook is awash with negative comments about the coverage, especially from fans who feel their county isn’t getting enough time on the show, which only airs for approximately two hours every week.

“I would agree the level of hostility on social media is higher than it has been,” he told the Irish Independent.

“I’m not naïve about that. I hear what it’s saying. But it also shows people care. You know, as soon as the programme starts, you’ll get 200 messages straight away complaining about the game you’ve started with. You’ve divided the audience already.

“Of all the programmes in RTÉ, I think The Sunday Game is the one that people feel most ownership of. Maybe people feel more comfortable beating us over the head and that’s fair enough because they, effectively, own the programme.”

Des agrees with many of the comments shared online, but unless something changes in relation to the structure on the show they won’t be able to fit everything in.

He said: “I see frustration all around me from the team working on it.

“Utter frustration. All of my colleagues are frustrated. Everybody’s trying hard to make it the best programme it can be.

“The amount of talented people involved, cutting these games – which isn’t an easy job – is huge.

“But regularly now, we’re showing up to 15 games. How do you get 15 games into 106 or 108 minutes? You can’t.”

He added: “I used enjoy making The Sunday Game a hell of a lot more. You could have the craic, a bit of a laugh. We miss laughter on the programme, a little spontaneity. I miss it. Because the programme just doesn’t have room to breathe in my opinion.

“But there has to be structure and the more matches you squeeze in, the more structured it has to be.”

Des has called for a second GAA show to be aired on RTÉ every week, which would ease the pressure and time constraints for The Sunday Game – people would also get to see more of Des’s personality as well.

He said: “I know there’s plenty of youngsters around who would all feel, ‘I could do a better job than Dessie!’ I get that. I was already 25 years in RTÉ when I became presenter of The Sunday Game.

“But to my mind, a second programme would allow the production breathe. I mean, I love chatting about the GAA and people in the GAA, but I know that doesn’t come across at the moment.

“People who know me, know my general setting is far more spontaneous and having the craic. Trust me, I’d rather be better at other things. But that’s what I’m like.

“When I do MC at something, I’m a different person.”

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