Ballinamallard United may be riding high in the Danske Irish Premiership, but according to one club member they are not getting the recognition they deserve from television broadcasters.
Club member Billy Emerson is very frustrated that even though Ballinamallard United are now in the top tier of Irish football, the coverage of the side’s matches are nowhere near as detailed as other clubs in the league.
“The BBC have been very slack in their coverage of Ballinamallard. On Monday night’s highlight programme they only showed one goal, our third, which amounted to ten seconds of footage.
“They sent a camera man down on Saturday without a satellite so we weren’t even on the highlights programme on Saturday as they couldn’t relay the footage.
“Now I know they do an Internet programme, but there are a lot of people in Fermanagh who don’t have broadband and cannot access the Internet. A lot of people want to see Ballinamallard and the BBC have the full rights so we feel they are doing us a disservice.”
Over the course of the season Ballinamallard have gained quite a following, but Billy believes the Belfast sides are still favoured ahead of others in terms of television coverage. There was no better example than their recent 5-1 victory in Coleraine. Not a single camera was present to witness arguably the club’s best performance of the season, a fact that frustrates Billy.
“We would just like to get a fair share of the coverage. We are more than happy with the papers, but we just think the BBC could do more. We’re putting out 12 minute highlights of games on Mallard TV and having it up quicker than the BBC.”
It is not just the BBC who could give more coverage to the mallards, Sky sports also show live matches from the Irish premiership and have yet to appear at Ferney Park or feature the club.
“I know Sky have been down and measured our flood lights in looking at giving us a game, but they only have one game left which I understand is going to be Linfield against Crusaders. We’re assuming though that we will be in the loop for next season,” he said.
Club Chairman Desi Quinn erred on the side of caution when it came to criticising the BBC’s coverage.
“It is our first season and we’re out in the sticks , but I think we have had good enough coverage, but not brilliant. It is obviously easier and more cost effective to send cameras and satellites to work in Belfast than Fermanagh.
“As I have said it is our first season and quite a lot of the media didn’t know where Ballinamallard was, but now people like Jackie Fullerton have been here and they love coming down.
“Sky though would be a different matter. They get six matches a season and I would be very disappointed if we didn’t have one or two games next season.”
Desi would rather point the finger of blame at UTV for their complete lack of coverage.
“The biggest disappointment of all is UTV. They are a regional TV station that show nothing. If I was Billy I would be having a go at UTV, they have let us all down greatly.”