Friday 14 December 2018

Northern lights get with the programme

MATCH-day programmes can very often represent daylight robbery. With a price tag ranging from €2-4, one might expect a reasonable presentation of facts and figures with the teams a bottom-line requirement.

Yet these days that red-line issue is, well, anything but a red-line issue. It is nigh on impossible to keep track of changes that most of the public knew all about well before throw-in.

It appears no sanction can be taken with these phantom team selections and once a 'starting 15' is announced the week preceding the match, all parties seem satisfied.

The Ulster Council is the exception. It leads the way in this area as indeed it does with its many other media efforts.

For instance, its website (www.ulstergaa.ie) is a tremendous source of information on each and every aspect of Gaelic games, with a particular excellence in the coaching department links.

And again, it generally takes first prize with its match-day publication. Programmes have become generous advertising directories, but some interesting facts and figures can be found squeezed between those pages.

Last Saturday night's programme for the Armagh-Down game featured stats for each player and provided proof, as if it was needed, that size and power play a critical role in the game today.

Take the Armagh panel: 25 of the 31 listed players are six foot-plus tall while 11 of the starters came from that category; Down have a panel of 39 and rowed in with 22 players in the six foot and taller squad but kept their starting number to nine.

As ever, when the 6'4" midfielder is playing poorly, the coaching manual states you must take off the corner-forward!

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