Christy Cooney, the GAA president, has said that while he sees no problem with playing hurling under floodlights,the issue will have to be reviewed and attendance figures taken into account.
The president was speaking at yesterday’s AIB Provincial Players Awards lunch in Dublin’s RDS and defended the games despite poor turnouts at the weekend’s evening matches:
“When we look at attendances this year and compare how they are for Saturday and Sunday nights this year, CCCC will then have a look at it. In some respects, it’s the counties themselves that may look for a Saturday evening game so their clubs can play on a Sunday. Also we have a number of television games that we need to show on a Saturday night and we’re contracted to do so. That’s important too.
“But let’s review it at the end of the Allianz League and see where we are. When we assess the crowds compared to last year we’ll be in a better position to make a decision. I think it would be very premature to make a judgment call now after three rounds of the Allianz League. I think it would be too soon, to be honest.”
A number of high profile names have hit out at the idea of floodlit hurling games in recent weeks. Tipperary County Board say that they would expect larger attendances for Sunday afternoon games than Saturday evening games under lights. Tony Considine, Paul Flynn and Liam Sheedy indicated at the weekend that the game might not be suitable for playing under floodlights, while Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald blamed Shane O’Sullivan’s sending off on Saturday night on losing sight of the sliotar in the glare of the lights.
However, Cooney insists that night-time hurling should not be an issue.
He said, “Some people say there’s a concern about the flight of the ball (with the lights) I don’t know. I was at the Dublin match [against Tipperary], which was under lights at Croke Park, and I don’t think the lights had any [ill] effect on the game or the performances.
“Some people think on a Saturday night it’s a nice occasion to play under floodlights and all the evidence we have is that the floodlights in all our grounds are more than suitable for hurling and football so I’m not sure if it’s an issue or not.
“Is it just this year that it’s an issue for people because I haven’t heard it before?”