Sean O'Shea, a Killarney native now living in NYC has spoken candidly to IrishCentral.com about his ongoing distress at being unable to receive live or recorded GAA coverage in the city.
The lifelong hurling fan said that since Setanta Sports USA folded it's become impossible to watch either hurling or football from practically anywhere Stateside.
"You'd think that RTE Player would have it," said the Kerryman, referring to RTE's online recorded programming viewer, "but they don't seem to be putting any of the broadcasts up there, so the only bit of GAA I've found on the net has been old clips of past Championships on YouTube, but it's hard to find current stuff! The GAA's website just features interviews."
As the internet's effectively a no-go area for hardcore GAA fans, O'Shea says that "you're only bet is to try and find a good Irish pub that'll play the matches". Asked if he knows of any locals, he says that Behan's pub in Woodlawn plays them, but doesn't know of any ones in Manhattan. Then there's the time difference. When the throw-in is at 2pm back in Ireland, that's just 9am in the morning in Manhattan, a time at which all but the most dedicated of GAA fans will not feel like making it to a pub to watch the broadcast.
Behan's was contacted by IrishCentral and asked how they receive the matches. They said that the feed comes in on the "Setanta box", working through "DirectTV" but weren't in a position to know whether or not such boxes were available to the general public.
My final suggestion to Sean was to try the RTE.ie website. Again, thanks to the wonderful world of technology, IP restrictions means that live content isn't available to viewers outside Ireland, effectively ruling out that option.
So how does Sean manage? Reluctantly he admits that a tech-savvy nephew back in Ireland records matches on DVDs and then transmits them to O'Shea's computer using something known as 'BitTorrents'.
"Of course it doesn't compared to be able to get the matches live," says O'Shea, "but I guess that when you have that and you can read the match reports it's not too bad. But it's still something of a shambles that you can't watch the matches easier than that. It's poor form from the GAA that there isn't a service that you can watch the matches online. It would be the easiest way and I'd happily pay a subscription!".
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