Once again TG4 will have exclusive live coverage’s of the new rugby season’s first major competition, the Celtic League, which kicks off next Friday.
The second season of the Celtic League will see the the four Irish provinces pit their skills against the top Welsh and Scottish club sides over the next two months. It will
provide an early opportunity for players to show their talents to the international selectors as Ireland face into a hectic early season with vital World Cup qualifiers in September against Russia and Georgia as well as stern tests
from the visiting international teams such as Australia, Argentina, Fiji and Romania.
Leinster, of course, won the inaugural Celtic League in 2001. Their win
over Munster in the all-Irish Final at Lansdowne Road in December saw Matt Williams’ team take their first major trophy after a triumphant run. Indeed, the success of the Irish provinces in this innovative competition
(three of the four Irish provinces won through to the 2001
semi-finals) sparked a huge interest in the Celtic League among Irish rugby fans.
TG4’s exclusive live television coverage of the Celtic League won the
channel many new friends. The channel covered the opening rounds and acted as host broadcaster for other UK channels for the Final.
Sixteen participating teams are divided into two pools for the opening rounds of the Celtic League and the competition kicks off on the last weekend in August. TG4 will provide live Friday evening coverage of the
opening rounds each week beginning on Friday 30th August with Leinster v Pontyrpridd, live from Donnybrook.
All four Irish provinces are included in the channel’s attractive
list of fixtures which features a number of Irish derbys including Leinster v Connacht in the 3rd round and Ulster v Munster in the 5th round.
Welcoming the announcement, TG4 Leascheannasam, Padhraic S Ciardha, said
the channel had pioneered television coverage of the Celtic League.
“We were delighted with the audience reaction to our coverage of the first season of the Celtic League, our major international sports competition,” he said “It proved to be a natural fit for our sports schedule, given the
close contacts we have with our Celtic cousins in other areas of programming. We are very proud to have secured these rights and look forward to bringing top class club rugby to our audience again in 2002.”
Once again TG4’s live coverage will be provided by Nemeton, the independent
production company from Waterford. The programme will be presented by Garry Mac Donncha with commentary and analysis by Eoghan S Neachtain and Gearsid Mac Donncha.
Celtic League matches live on TG4 2002/03.
Round 1 – Friday 30th August 7:25pm
Leinster v Pontypridd.
Round 2 – Friday 6th September 7:25pm Munster v Ebbw Vale.
Round 3 – Friday 13th September 7:25pm Leinster v Connacht.
Round 4 – Friday 20th September 7:25pm Munster v Swansea.
Round 5 – Friday 27th September 7:25pm Ulster v Munster.
Round 6 – Friday 4th October 7:25pm
Leinster v Newport.
Round 7 – Friday 25th October 7:25pm Live Match TBC.(Depending on positions in league table).
Quarter-finals, weekend of 30th November 2002.
Semi-finals, weekend of 4th January 2003.
Celtic League Final, 1st February 2003.