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09 Apr 2013

ae14565af75cc50c14235997d5662feaSeó Spóirt is one of the best sports programmes produced in this country. It goes out weekly on TG4 with some of the best GAA analysts offering their opinion on upcoming football and hurling games. Armagh is often represented on the show with Jarlath Burns and Charlie Vernon providing their insight on occasion. But did you know that the Armagh connection goes further. Gemma Ní Chionnaith is a roving reporter on the show, visiting GAA grounds across the country, and despite her fierce support for her native Galway, she is proud of her own Armagh heritage. Gemma spoke to Armagh GAA in the lead-up to today’s game about Seó Spóirt and about her grandfather Gerard McAlinden who played for Wolfe Tone GAC in Derrymacash back in the 1950s.

Tá Seó Spóirt ar TG4 ar cheann de na cláir spóirt is fearr a chraoltar in Éirinn. Bíonn na mílte ag súil go mór le tuairimí stuama an laoich SBB a chluinstin achan seachtain. Tá féith ar leith ag an Chiarraíoch cothrom Dara Ó Cinnéide a mhealann an lucht féachana chuig an clár agus bíonn lucht leanúna an spóirt in Éirinn ag dúil go mór leis an Aoine le fáil amach cé acu saineolaí a bheas ar an tolg in éineacht leis na saoithe an tseachtain seo.

I measc na saineolaithe a bhíonn ar an chlár go minic, tá buíon bheag Gaeilgeoirí as Ard Mhacha. Is eol don saol mór anois go bhfuil Gaeilge ag Iarlaith s’againn féin, agus tá a chruth greannta sa tolg sa stiúdeo thiar i gConamara. Cuireann sé bród ar phobal na Gaeilge in Ard Mhacha go mbíonn Iarlaith le feiceáil agus le cluinstin go mion minic ar TG4 mar thráchtaire agus mar anailísí nó cuireann sé in iúl don tír go bhfuil an Ghaeilge beo beathach in Ard Mhacha. Is minic a shuigh Charlie Vernon ar an tolg céanna ar Seó Spóirt le dearcadh an imreora a chur in iúl don phainéal agus lena chuid saineolais a scaipeadh linn uilig. Tá an t-ádh linn in Ard Mhacha go bhfuil imreoir mór le rá againn atá sásta ár dteanga féin a úsáid agus tá an t-ádh le TG4 go bhfuil Charlie breá ábalta chuige.

Ach ní hiad Iarlaith agus Charlie amháin a sheasann an fód ar son Ard Mhacha. Tá bean amháin eile a thaistealaíonn an tír le crua a chur ar imreoirí ó gach contae.  Gaillimheach go smior í Gemma Ní Chionnaith, an láithreoir agus tuairisceoir óg, nó sin a shílfeá cibé. Ach cinntíonn Gemma go bhfuil ionadaíocht sheasta ag an Úllghort ar an chlár. In ainneoin na canúna, tá Gemma bródúil as an cheangal atá aici le Contae Ard Mhacha nó is ann a rugadh agus a tógadh a h-athair mór, Gerard McAlinden. D’imir Gerard peil le Cumann De Bhuilbh Tóin i nDoire Mhic Cais sna 50idí lena dheartháireacha ach bhog sé as sin go dtí an Spidéal i nGaeltacht Chois Fharraige na Gaillimhe, áit ar oscail sé teach tábhairne agus áit ar thóg sé a chlann ann.

Inniu agus peileadóirí na Gaillimhe linn in Ard Mhacha, an mbeidh cos ag Gemma sa dá champa? Bhuel, seo a bhí le rá aici féin, “Sílim gurbh é an rud is sábháilte agus is cliste ná go mbeadh cos agam sa dá champa! Rugadh agus tógadh i nGaillimh mé fhéin, ach tá an ceangal atá agam féin agus mo mhuintir le hArd Mhacha thar a bheith láidir i gcónaí. Cé go bhfuil 150 míle idir muid féin agus ár ngaolta ó thuaidh, labhrann muid lena chéile ar an bhfón gach seachtain agus bíonn muid ar cuairt ar a chéile go minic.”

Cár chuir Gemma suim i gcúrsaí spóirt ar dtús? “Bhí an teach baile buaillte ar an bpáirc peile – Cumann Peile Mícheál Breathnach. Bhíodh mé fhéin agus mo dheartháir ann ó moch maidin go hoíche. Is ann a chaith muid ár gcuid ama ar fad agus is dócha gur ansin a thosaigh an spéis a bhí agam sa gCLG. Faraor, ní raibh mórán maitheasa ionam mar imreoir, mar sin d’iomapigh mé ar an dtuairsceoireacht!”

Cuireadh tús leis an chlár Seó Spóirt ar TG4 seacht mbliana ó shin agus tá Gemma ag obair leo ó shin. “Bíonn mé ar an mbóthar gach seachtain ag taisteal ó cheann ceann na tíre. Níl páirc peile sa tír nach raibh mé ann faoin tráth seo! Bíonn deis agam bainisteoirí agus imreoirí an CLG a chur faoi agallamh gach aon seachtain agus taithníonn an obair thar cionn liom.”

Seó Spóirt on TG4 is one of the best sports programmes broadcast in Ireland. Thousands tune in every week to hear the learned thoughts of the one and only Seán Bán Breathnach, famous for his commentary on Katie Taylor’s heroic performance in London amongst other things. Dara Ó Cinnéide is the show’s presenter and the legendary Kerryman manages to appeal to the audience with his balanced opinions keeping the other analysts in check. The viewers also look forward every week to finding out which sports star will be making a guest appearance. 

A couple of Armagh Gaeilgeoirí are among the experts who have joined Dara and Seán Bán on the show. We all know that Jarlath Burns is a fluent Irish speaker and he has been guest analyst on a number of occasions. It is a great source of pride for the Irish language community in Armagh that one of our all-time greats is a regular on TG4 as commentator or analyst and he lets the country know that the Irish language is alive and well here in County Armagh. Senior footballer Charlie Vernon is also a familiar face on the show, voicing his opinion from a player’s perspective. We are fortunate in Armagh that such a prominent footballer is willing to speak and promote our own national language and TG4 are fortunate that Charlie is more than capable of holding his own.

It’s not just Jarlath and Charlie who represent the Orchard County. The show has a roving reporter who travels the country to interrogate inter-county players. Gemma Ní Chionnaith is a proud Galway woman, but she ensures that Armagh has a permanent presence on the programme. In spite of the Galway dialect, Gemma is proud of her link with County Armagh. Her grandfather Gerard McAlinden was born and raised in north Armagh. Gerard played for Wolfe Tone GAC, Derrymacash back in the 50s alongside his brothers, before moving to An Spidéal in the Galway Gaeltacht of Cois Fharraige, where he set up a pub and reared his family.

Today as the Galway footballers visit the Athletic Grounds, will Gemma be torn between the two teams? Well, here is what she had to say, “I think the smartest and the safest thing to say is that I’ll be shouting for both Armagh and Galway! I was born and raised in Galway , but my Armagh connection is as strong as ever. Although there are 150 miles between ourselves and my relations up north, we speak to each other on the phone every week and we often visit each other too.

How did Gemma first develop her interest in sport? “Our house was right beside the football field – Cumann Peile Mícheál Breathnach (Mícheál Breathnach GAC). Myself and my brother used to play at the field from dawn to dusk. We spent most of our time there and that’s where I developed my love for the GAA. Unfortunately, I was never any good at playing, so I turned to the reporting!”

Seó Spóirt began on TG4 seven years ago and Gemma has been working on the programme from the start. “I travel the length and breadth of Ireland each week. There’s hardly a field in the country that I haven’t been to by now! I am fortunate that I get the opportunity to interview GAA managers and players each week and I really enjoy my job.”

Is féidir féachaint ar Seó Spóirt gach Aoine ag a 8.30pm ar TG4. Coinnigh siúl ar an sceideal leis an am cruinn a fháil.
You can watch Seó Spóirt on Fridays on TG4. Keep an eye on TV listings for times. The show has English language subtitles.