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Page last updated at 17:18 GMT, Tuesday, 19 February 2008

BBC NI set for bumper GAA summer

Brian Dooher
Tyrone captain Brian Dooher lifted the Anglo-Celt Cup last July

BBC NI, RTE and the GAA have agreed a new deal that will mean significantly more GAA matches being broadcast live on BBC NI over the next three years.

Under the new agreement, BBC NI will be able to show live any game in the Ulster Football Championship which RTE is also broadcasting.

The agreement, which followed months of negotiations, was announced on Tuesday.

"We're delighted to have secured this for our viewers," said BBC Sport NI Executive Producer Shane Glynn.

"It's fantastic news for GAA fans in Ulster. We'll be sitting down with RTE and the GAA over the coming weeks to work out the specifics of the agreement.

"The ambition and aim is that this agreement will allow BBC Northern Ireland to broadcast live all eight games in the Ulster Championship.

Based on what we all know of the skills of the BBC's team of journalists and reporters, I'm confident the standard of coverage of gaelic games on TV in Ulster this year, will be very high

Ulster Council president Tom Daly

"We're delighted to have reached the agreement with the support of the partners in RTE Sport, the Ulster Council of the GAA and the GAA centrally at Croke Park."

Ulster Council president Tom Daly also welcomed the announcement.

"I want to acknowledge the GAA at national level, especially Nickey Brennan, who has listened to our views in a very clear way," said the Ulster official.

"Based on what we all know of the skills of the BBC's team of journalists and reporters, I'm confident that the standard of coverage of gaelic games on TV in Ulster this year, will be very high."

BBC Northern Ireland is still in discussions with the GAA and other broadcasters about showing live games involving Ulster counties in the All-Ireland stages of the championship.

GAA president Brennan was not prepared to disclose how much the new deal was worth to the GAA.

606: DEBATE

However, Brennan made clear his annoyance at recent suggestions in some quarters that the association was "selling its soul", adding that Croke Park could have made "a lot more money" from other proposed offers.

"This was never about money. If we were after money, we would not have agreed to the deal that we have agreed to."

Brennan also revealed that the GAA is about to unveil a rebranding of the association.

This will include a new association logo and Brennan said that Croke Park aims to make the GAA the "dominant brand" in Irish society.

The rebranding proposals were discussed at Saturday's Central Council meeting and the issue is certain to be debated at Congress.

The GAA sought opinions on the rebranding issue in a recent online survey.



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