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Galaxy ‘Til I Die: Behind-the-scenes documentary tracks MEK Galaxy’s first season in Kerry’s top flight

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An intriguing new documentary following the trials and tribulations of a Killarney soccer club is set to entertain and enthrall local sports fans this Christmas.

The four-part docuseries, which is similar in style to the popular Sunderland ‘Til I Die documentary on Netflix and Amazon’s All or Nothing series, has been produced by Kerry company Full-Time Productions. The subject of the doc is Killarney-based senior team MEK Galaxy as they navigate the 2019/20 season, the club’s first in the Premier A Division of the KDL.

The release on December 20 will be the culmination of 18 months of hard work for director Kevin Kelleher and speaking to the Killarney Advertiser this week, he explained why MEK Galaxy were the right fit for this kind of documentary.

“I’ve known Darragh (O’Regan, Galaxy’s manager) for a couple of years and I liked his management style. I liked the way he talked to the players and the way he ran training. I got some insight into the club and saw that they were really preparing to be one of the big clubs in Kerry. I thought they’d be the perfect club to follow.

Did he take inspiration from successful soccer documentaries like the aforementioned Sunderland ‘Til I Die?

“Yeah, they were definitely an inspiration. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t revisit them during the editing process just to see what we could do.”

Kelleher’s company, Full-Time Productions, have earned a reputation for their excellent coverage of amateur sports, most notably providing a standard of livestreaming that is normally reserved for elite level sports. Kelleher says a desire to promote these non-professional players and clubs was the main motivating factor behind setting up his business in 2016, and his reason for creating this new documentary.

“We just thought that this level of sport deserved more coverage.

"Just because it isn’t professional doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have drama or heartbreak. It still means all the world to these players. We think there are more stories to be told behind the scenes.”

Galaxy player and self-confessed “joker in the pack” Aidan Galvin said that he and his teammates are looking forward to the documentary’s release.

“Although results didn’t go our way, Kevin still managed to get a lot of good content,” Galvin said. “If the preview is anything to go by, it should be a good watch.”

Did the players find it strange having the cameras around?

“It caught me off guard a few times alright but we got used to it pretty quickly. I think they got footage of me scoring an own goal - that was the camera’s fault.

“I’m sure there will be some surprises. If people find us losing most weeks funny then they’re in for a treat.”

Episode 1 of Full-Time Seasons: A Year with MEK Galaxy will be available on the Full-Time Productions Facebook page from December 20 with Episodes 2, 3 and 4 being released on December 24, 27 and 31.

 

MAIN PIC: MEK Galaxy player Tadhg Fleming speaking to the documentary crew after his side's 2-0 defeat to Avenue in the FAI Junior Cup.

 

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Live referee mics should be the norm – swearing concerns be damned

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by Adam Moynihan

I was disappointed to learn that the GAA are preventing TG4 from using their live referee mic in this Sunday’s Wexford hurling final.

(And not just because I had already written an article saying how great live referee mics are and how they are sure to be implemented across the board. Ctrl + A. Delete.)

TG4’s GAA coverage is superb and they raised the bar once again when they mic’d up referee John O’Halloran for the Kerry hurling final between Causeway and Ballyduff.

Pinning a microphone on the referee is standard practice in televised rugby and judging by the positive response to Gaelic games’ first foray into this territory, I was expecting it to become the norm.

It still might but, explaining their decision to The 42, the GAA said that they were not aware beforehand of the ref mic being trialled in Stack Park on Sunday.

“They believe such a development will require more discussion and education if it is to be implemented on a more regular basis in live TV coverage and could possibly need a policy change,” Fintan O’Toole reported.

The image of the Association is surely the primary concern here.

Players and managers – usually the worst behaved participants when it comes to things like swearing – will be among those who get “educated” on the subject. Some verbal abuse that might otherwise be muted for television viewers will, in all likelihood, be picked up by the referee’s microphone. You would imagine that the teams involved will be reminded of this the week of a televised game.

It also makes sense from Croke Park’s point of view to speak to referees and give them guidance on how to conduct themselves when the mic is on.

In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if senior GAA figures are currently fretting over the possibility of an agitated ref making headlines for something they say in the heat of the moment. And make no mistake about it, some match officials can eff and jeff with the best of them.

A friend of mine (a Wexford man, funnily enough) recalls an incident when a teammate was unceremoniously taken out of it by an opponent.

“Ah ref, for f***’s sake!” the victim complained.

“I gave you the f***ing free,” the referee replied. “What do you want me to do, slap him in the face with a wet fish?!”

The GAA might think that a referee swearing like that would leave all of us red-faced. In reality the clip would be a viral sensation and the general public would probably call for the official in question to run for Áras an Uachtárain. (He’d get my ****ing vote.)

The odd swear word from someone involved is bound to sneak through every now and then but you’d hear the same – and plenty more – at any match you attend from Cahersiveen to County Antrim.

Implementing the referee mic on a wider scale is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t appear to take a huge amount of effort or expense for the broadcaster to set it up and, more importantly, it offers a wonderful insight into the unknown.

Listening to referees explain their decisions in real time will clear a lot of things up for commentators, analysts and the media. We will no longer have to speculate about what they did or did not see, or what specific rule is being cited, or why.

Viewers, especially those who might be casual followers of the sport, will appreciate it too and become more educated; I know that’s how I feel when I watch rugby, for example.

It just leads to greater transparency and understanding.

Well done to TG4 and the Kerry County Board for being the pioneers. I’m sure others will follow their lead – as soon as the GAA allow them to do so.

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Popularity of Ladies Gaelic Football on the rise

According to official TAM Ireland figures, 491,000 tuned into TG4’s coverage of the TG4 Ladies Football finals on Sunday with an average audience of 204,900 people watching the live broadcast […]

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According to official TAM Ireland figures, 491,000 tuned into TG4’s coverage of the TG4 Ladies Football finals on Sunday with an average audience of 204,900 people watching the live broadcast of the Senior Final between Meath and Kerry.

The match had a 30.6% share of viewing among individuals. Viewing peaked at 5.10pm with 279,800 viewers as Meath closed in on the two in a row to retain the Brendan Martin Cup.

A total 46,400 attended the match in person in Croke Park on Sunday, the first TG4 Ladies Football Final to have full capacity allowance since 2019.

Viewers from over 50 countries tuned into the finals on the TG4 Player with 14,000 streams of the game from international viewers. Over 20,000 streams were also registered from Irish viewers.

TG4 Director General Alan Esslemont said: “My deepest gratitude to all the counties especially Wexford and Kerry who battled to the end through this season’s Championship, hearty congratulations to both Laois and Meath and I am really looking forward to the re-match of Antrim and Fermanagh which will be carried live on TG4. A special word of thanks goes to the huge crowd which travelled to the Finals from all the corners of Ireland. County Meath especially have become a role model for other counties in how to build huge attending support for LGFA in both genders and at all ages. Sunday’s massive expression of Meath ‘fandom’ in Croke Park brought their county the greatest credit.

Sunday’s broadcast was the 22nd edition of the TG4 Ladies Gaelic Football Championship, a unique history of a sport minoritized by society being championed by a language media minoritized by the state. By consciously standing together we have grown together. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the LGFA in 2024 let us all hope by that time that we are even further along the road towards true equality of opportunity for both Ladies Gaelic Football and Irish language media.”

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