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Media coverage of GAA response to lockdown analysed in a new publication from MIC lecturer 



Dr Marcus Free, Mary Immaculate College (MIC) lecturer and co-author of the publication pictured above.

Media coverage of GAA response to lockdown analysed in a new publication from MIC lecturer 


The impact that COVID-19 has had on the Gaelic Games in Ireland and how Irish media covered the GAA response to the lockdown challenges is at the centre of a new publication co-authored by Mary Immaculate College (MIC) lecturer Dr Marcus Free.



‘” This Too Shall Pass”: Gaelic Games, Irish Media and the COVID-19 Lockdown in Ireland’ is included in ‘Time Out; National Perspectives on Sport and the COVID-19 Lockdown’, a new book which focuses on local and national lockdowns globally. 


The book explores the period between March and May 2020, showing how various sports in different parts of the world were affected by the pandemic.  


The Irish element is penned by Dr Marcus Free, Media & Communications lecturer at MIC and Dr Seán Crosson, NUI Galway academic. Their research examines COVID-19’s impact by analysing selected print, broadcast and social media representations of the GAA and Gaelic Games. 


The authors focused on two prominent themes that they found to have dominated coverage. Firstly, there was a strong emphasis on the impact on the GAA, its participants and the media of the cancellation of elite and local level competitions in its peak Spring-Summer season. This included extensive coverage of the financial impact on the GAA and debates concerning how matches might safely resume.  

There was also extensive praise for the GAA’s response to and messaging during the lockdown. The authors highlight the media theme of ‘overcoming’ – both the Association’s challenges and those facing wider Irish society through members’ voluntary and charitable activities and their extensive contributions as frontline service staff.  


Dr Marcus Free said, ‘The study illustrates the unique intersection of national media, the GAA and all spheres of society in Ireland through the organisation’s extensive membership. Dr Crosson and I are currently working on follow-up research that will examine media engagement with the challenges that emerged for the GAA during the post-lockdown return to competition in Autumn 2020.’ 


Dr Marcus Free lectures in Media and Communication Studies at Mary Immaculate College. He is co-editor (with Neil O’Boyle) of Sport, the Media and Ireland: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Cork University Press, 2020).  


The Time Out collection was edited by Jörg Krieger, April Henning, Paul Dimeo, and Lindsay Parks Pieper and published by leading international academic publisher Common Ground. 

Further information on the collection and Dr Crosson’s and Dr Free’s chapter are available at the following link, where copies of the book can also be purchased HERE


For more stories on Mary Immaculate College, go HERE

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.