RTE Television

Thank GAA It's Friday

Thank GAA It's Friday returns to your screens for another summer packed with GAA goodness.

Episode 1

Episode 1 returns on Friday, July 3rd on RTÉ2, covering the best stories our native games have to offer.The show's creators bring you the complete weekly GAA package; containing characters, games, fascinating stories and communities both at home and abroad.

Ahead of the Munster football final, we talk to Gillingham's player-of-the-year and a famous son of Kerry football, John Egan. John's father, who passed away in 2012, was part of the great Kingdom sides of the late '70s and early '80s, winning six All-Irelands and five All-Star awards. Despite his Kerry background, John was born and raised in the heart of the Rebel county but will there be divided loyalties come Munster football final day?

Comedic actor David Rawle, AKA Martin Moone in the mega-hit Moone Boy, talks to us about his Gaelic Football heritage in lovely Leitrim's Carrigallen GAA club. David returns to the hallowed turf once more to relive memories with his friends and former club mates (none of whom are imaginary!). And David also has to finally confront the annoying fact that
everyone thinks he's from Roscommon!

Drugs in the GAA has become a major talking point in recent weeks and we spoke to Irish Times journalist Malachy Clerkin, former Irish athlete David Gillick and leading sports nutritionist Dr. Sharon Madigan to see whether there is a serious issue in the GAA. Expect plenty of heated debate!

With Antrim playing Fermanagh in the All-Ireland Football Qualifier series, former Antrim captain Anto Finnegan remembers the Saffrons' glory days at the turn of the century. Anto led his county to All-Ireland B success over Fermanagh in 1999, as well as to their first Ulster Championship win in 18 years in 2000. He now faces a more difficult battle off the field, having been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2012.

Plus we'll have all the build up to the Leinster hurling final so tune in on Friday 3rd July at 8:30pm
on RTÉ2.

Episode 2

Episode 2 of the series comes to you on Friday, July 10th on RTÉ 2 at 8:30pm with features on the Leinster football and the Munster hurling finals.

Tipperary face Waterford in what promises to be a thrilling Munster hurling final. We caught up with two men determined to throw the Premier County's season into reverse: Waterford's Shanahan brothers. Maurice and Dan have been a driving force in their county's amazing 2015 so far and the Lismore brothers joined us to talk trucks and sliotars as the Deise go for their first Munster title since 2010.

We'll also turn our attention to the Leinster football final by catching up with Westmeath hero John Heslin as he cultivates the Lake County's challenge for a first Leinster in 11 years. John trades in his football boots for his wellington boots to give us an insight into his Agricultural Science PhD on heifer puberty. The final against Dublin could be a real coming of age story for Heslin and the Westmeath panel.

Armagh's Jamie Clarke gives us a taste of life as a modern footballer. The Crossmaglen sharpshooter, better known for roasting full-backs than coffee beans, developed a passion for coffee while travelling. Back in Ireland, he's letting his love of the bean filter through to a wider audience. We raise our cups to Armagh brewing up a successful qualifier run.

While, for some, the qualifier journey is already over. But, for one GAA stalwart, the 86-year-old journalist Peter Keogh, it's a road well travelled. We join Peter's trip from his idyllic home in Co. Wicklow to the Athletic Grounds in Armagh as the Garden County looked to pull off a shock in Ulster.

So join us on RTÉ 2, Friday July 10th at 8:30pm for the perfect warm-up to another massive GAA weekend.

Episode 4

Thank GAA It's Friday is back on your screens for another summer packed with GAA goodness. Episode 4 comes to you on Friday, July 24th on RTÉ 2 at 8:30pm with features on the All-Ireland Hurling quarter-finals and football qualifiers.

The show's creators bring you the complete weekly GAA package; containing characters, games, fascinating stories and communities both at home and abroad.

And after a sublime 2015 as far as the Munster hurling final, can Waterford bounce back from the disappointing loss to Tipperary when they face Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final? We catch up with the Deise captain Kevin Moran as he talks about the lessons learned from the last day out and developing a winning formula under Derek McGrath.

Competing against Kevin Moran is Dublin hurling star Danny Sutcliffe. The capital have built up a head of steam in the qualifiers and their victory over Limerick has renewed confidence in the camp. A recent graduate from Trinity College Dublin, Danny will be hoping Dublin can come top of the class once again in Sunday's quarter-final.

Galway hurling legend Iggy Clarke chats to us about his time with the Tribesmen ahead of their quarter-final clash with Cork. The former priest and four-time All-Star played a starring role in the Galway sides of the 70s and 80s. Iggy takes us through the difficulties of life as a priest in the GAA and the added notoriety that gave him. Although he left the priesthood in the 1990s, his hurling vocation remained strong and now he plays a key role in Galway GAA's health and well-being campaign.

Seamus Harnedy, one of the stars of Cork hurling, hails from one of the smallest clubs in the country. Located in picturesque seaside surroundings outside Youghal, Co. Cork, St. Ita's is a community bonded by its love of hurling. We chat to club chairman and Seamus' father, Sean Harnedy and Seamus' mother Kathy Landers, a Cork camogie legend, about Seamus' life growing up in the area.

So join us on Friday 24th July at 8:30pm on RTÉ 2 for another action packed show. The show will be repeated at the weekend before the big game on RTÉ 2.

Episode 5

Thank GAA It's Friday is back on your screens for another summer packed with GAA goodness. Episode 5 comes to you on Friday, July 31st on RTÉ2 at 8:30pm with features on the first two All-Ireland Football Quarter-Finals and the last of the football qualifiers.

The show's creators bring you the complete weekly GAA package; containing characters, games, fascinating stories and communities both at home and abroad.

Kildare's impressive victory over the Rebels last weekend has brought Jason Ryan's charges to another quarter-final, this time against Kerry. Paul Cribbin, star of the Lilywhites' win over Cork, gets some tips from Kildare legend Willie McCreery at his racing yard on how to dethrone the Kingdom.

In the other quarter-final, underdogs Fermanagh travel to Croke Park to face Dublin. The Ernesider's Corrigan family have played a huge role in the county's past and present. Dominic was a key player for sides in the 80s and 90s and his sons Tomás and Ruairí are influential characters in their latest fairytale. We catch up with the boys as the travel from their home to county training.

After losing to Monaghan in the Ulster final, Donegal's Odhrán Mac Niallais braves the elements in the shadow of Mount Errigal ahead of their clash with Galway. The Gweedore man hopes that their back door base camp can see them re-launch an assault on Sam.

Wexford camogie star Deirdre Codd has battled to get her fellow sportswomen noticed but the 4-time All Ireland winner knows it will be a marathon, not a sprint, to gain equal footing with her male counterparts. She talks about her family's other passion, greyhounds, as well as Wexford in 2015 and women in sport.

We also tackle the subject of violence in the GAA. The topic has come to the fore in recent weeks following the unsavoury reports around the pre-match incident in a recent challenge match between Dublin and Armagh. But has it always featured too heavily in the GAA? We put the questions to a collection of GAA stars to see what got their blood boiling in the past.

So join us on Friday 31st July at 8:30pm on RTÉ2 for another action packed show. The show will be repeated at the weekend before The Sunday Game on RTÉ2 at 1pm.

Episode 6

Thank GAA It's Friday is back on your screens for another summer packed with GAA goodness. Episode 6 comes to you on Friday, August 7th on RTÉ 2 at 8:30pm with features on the last two All-Ireland Football quarter-finals and the first Hurling semi-final.

The show's creators bring you the complete weekly GAA package; containing characters, games, fascinating stories and communities both at home and abroad.

As they prepare for yet another All-Ireland Hurling semi-final, we get to the heart of what makes Kilkenny hurling tick. We follow Kieran Joyce and Paul Murphy as the county men go head-to-head for the clubs, Rower Inistioge and Danesfort. While other counties wrap their players up in cotton wool, the cats send their men into heated battle during the Championship. Is this the secret to their success?

Hoping to halt this success will be Waterford manager Derek McGrath. After guiding the Deise to a National Hurling League title earlier this year, McGrath has his sights set firmly on reaching the county's first All-Ireland final since 2008. When his players take to the stage against Kilkenny, the De La Salle man will be hoping some amateur dramatics will see his men through.

Monaghan sharp-shooter Conor McManus warms up for the Farney Army's All-Ireland quarter-final
by taking us through his place-kicking routine. The 2013 All-Star takes us inside the mind of an
intercounty free-kick specialist as one of the most dangerous dead-ball exponents in the sport. He'll
be hoping he can find his range and kick his county through to an All-Ireland semi-final.

We'll also visit Ballyhaunis in Mayo, where county captain Keith Higgins reveals his dual ambitions. While chasing an elusive All-Ireland football title, Higgins still manages to maintain his love for the GAA's other code, hurling. A former Christy Ring All-Star, he brings us inside the passionate world of club hurling in a football-dominated county.

So join us on Friday 7th August at 8:30pm on RTÉ 2 for another action packed show. The
show will be repeated at the weekend before the big game on RTÉ 2.

Episode 8

Episode 8 comes to you on Friday, August 21st on RTÉ 2 at 9:30pm as we build up to the first
All-­Ireland football semi-­final between Kerry and Tyrone.

The show's creators bring you the complete weekly GAA package;; containing characters, games,
fascinating stories and communities both at home and abroad.

After lifting the All-­Ireland last year, Kerry's Kieran O'Leary has missed out on the Kingdom's
charge for successive football titles after rupturing his achilles tendon earlier this year. It was
Kieran's late equaliser that secured a replay in last year's semi-­final against Mayo and we chat to
Kerry's former captain about the lengths he's going to in his recovery.

2003 provided a watershed moment in Gaelic Football when Tyrone defeated Kerry in that year's semi-­ final. Tyrone unleashed the original blanket defence and changed football tactics forever. As the two sides go head-­to-­head in another semi-­final, we caught up with some key architects in the restructuring of modern football. Tyrone's Ryan McMenamin, Kevin Hughes and Brian McGuigan take us through the historical moment.

St. Brendan's College in Killarney has provided a footballing education for Kerry's budding players for decades now. It provided SEVEN players in last year's All-­Ireland football final panel including James O'Donoghue and Colm Cooper. We visited the school and spoke to teachers Ed O'Neill and Garry McGrath about nurturing this talent. Former pupil and double All-­Ireland winner Killian Burns also spoke to us about his time in the Killarney institution.

We also join Wexford's young star Conor McDonald as he prepares for the county's U21 semi-­
final against Antrim. The Yellow Bellies have placed a lot of emphasis on developing youth in the
recent past and McDonald follows in this tradition by passing on his knowledge to the youth of
Naomh Eanna in Gorey. After winning their third Leinster U21 title in a row, can the current crop
finally clinch that elusive All-­Ireland success?

Twitter: @ThankGAA

Email: ThankGAA@loosehorse.ie

Thank GAA It's Friday
  • RTÉ Two, Friday, 8.30pm