BBC Sport NI to start GAA summer coverage with Donegal-Tyrone

Tyrone's Peter Harte and Donegal's Michael Murphy
BBC Northern Ireland viewers will be able to see Peter Harte and Michael Murphy do battle in Ballybofey on 17 May

Donegal's Ulster Football opener with Tyrone on 17 May will start an exciting summer of Championship action on BBC Northern Ireland.

The Ballybofey battle will be one of five games live on BBC Two NI with two other ties having a deferred showing.

BBC NI's coverage will tap into all the various means to enjoy the season before, during and after games.

Mark Sidebottom will present BBC NI's studio TV coverage with Thomas Niblock on commentary duty.

Mark will be joined in the studio by a host of former county stars including new panel member Philip Jordan, who will gives his thoughts on the games alongside other pundits Oisin McConville, Martin McHugh and Paddy Bradley.

Thomas Kane will be at pitch side to soak up the big-game atmosphere as he gets the views of players, managers and guests.

BBC Championship coverage details

Sportsound on BBC Radio Ulster Medium will broadcast live coverage of all this year's Ulster Football Championship games.

Austin O'Callaghan presents this summer's Radio Ulster coverage with Owen McConnon on commentary.

BBC Radio Ulster MW will also have live coverage of all games involving Ulster counties in the All-Ireland series from the quarter-finals onwards plus the Ulster Senior Hurling Final and Ulster Minor Football Final.

BBC Sport NI is also offering a host of exciting new ways to enjoy the Ulster Championship this year.

These include; live text commentaries on during the games; a dedicated weekly blog from commentator Thomas Niblock and a post-game Q&A on Twitter with presenters and pundits.

Also new this year is the ability to listen to live radio commentary of all the Ulster Championship matches on mobile devices through the BBC Sport NI website.

Fans will also be able to keep up to date with all the latest news, reports, analysis and reaction on

Jane Tohill, Executive Editor, BBC Sport NI said: "BBC Sport NI is looking forward to another great summer of Ulster Championship action.

Ryan McHugh celebrates after Donegal's Ulster Final win over Monaghan last year
Ryan McHugh celebrates Donegal's Ulster Final win last year and BBC TWO NI will again have live coverage of the decider

"It gives us immense enjoyment to bring this wonderful spectacle to our audiences across TV, Radio and Online.

"We're also presenting our audiences with new ways to engage with our championship coverage."

Ulster GAA President Martin McAviney said that the provincial body was looking forward to an "exciting summer of games working in partnershp with the BBC Sport NI team".

"The live and deferred coverage demonstrates the marketability and interest in the Ulster GAA Senior Football Championship," added the Ulster President.

Following the opener between Donegal and Tyrone, Cavan's tussle with Monaghan on 24 May will also be live on BBC TWO Northern Ireland.

Fermanagh's game with Antrim will have a deferred showing on 31 May before the live TV matches resume with Derry's tussle with Down on 7 June.

The very attractive concluding quarter-final between Armagh and either Donegal or Tyrone will also be broadcast live on BBC TWO Northern Ireland.

The corporation's second deferred match will be the provincial semi-final the winners of the Cavan v Monaghan and Fermanagh v Antrim before the live action resumes again with the provincial final on 19 July.