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19th Jun 2017

Anyone involved in the GAA will want to tune in to a fascinating documentary tonight

This shows a side of GAA that the older generation will never have seen before

Conor Heneghan

GAA Documentary

If you’re mad about Gaelic football and hurling, this will be right up your street.

It’s no secret that the GAA has changed dramatically, particularly at the highest level, over the last decade or so.

The lifestyle, dedication and sacrifice required to cut it on a county football or hurling panel is now akin to that of a professional athlete and management teams throughout the country are turning to science and technology to keep up with and to try and gain an edge on their rivals.

GAA Nua, a new four-part documentary starting on RTÉ One tonight, June 19, will give an unprecedented insight into the way science, technology and data are changing Gaelic Games.

An Irish language series presented by former All-Ireland winning Kerry captain Dara Ó Cinnéide, the documentary will reveal the lengths that GAA teams across the country are going to in their quest for victory.

Over four half-hour episodes, Ó Cinnéide travels throughout Ireland meeting the managers, coaches, players, scientists, statisticians and medics using science and technology to revolutionise the way Gaelic Games are played.

Clip via RTÉ

He asks if there is an advantage to the technology and expertise being used by teams across the country and whether the sport is better off without it. Does technology help or hinder as players put in blood, sweat and tears as they strive for success?

Kerry senior football manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Waterford senior hurling manager Derek McGrath and Kildare senior football manager Cian O’Neill are amongst the contributors, while Waterford hurler Tadhg de Burca and former Down footballer Marty Clarke will also be giving their take on the route the GAA has gone down in recent years.

The documentary is directed by former Galway footballer Pat Comer, who also directed A Year ‘Til Sunday, the behind-the-scenes look at Galway’s All-Ireland title success in 1998 and Tall, Dark and Ó hÁilpín, a documentary about one of the most famous families in the GAA.

Commenting on the documentary, Dara Ó Cinnéide said: “Over the years since I left the inter-county game, I was constantly being told by those still involved that the game had changed beyond all recognition behind the scenes. The big revelation for me was seeing exactly how this was so. The level of preparation and attention to detail has escalated beyond anything I would have imagined.

“There are negative effects of this escalation but, by and large, it has been positive. Anything that helps the game evolve and helps players perform to the best of their ability, has to be a positive, but we also have to ensure that the games don’t lose their soul. We examine the correlation between science and progress and the games’ evolution in this series.”

GAA Nua airs on RTÉ One on Monday at 7.30pm.

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