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Rugby prices are destroying the sport

What a shameful way to mark the rebirth of Lansdowne Road.

There is more to this debacle than a mindless misjudgment on pricing and allocation of tickets by the Irish Rugby Football Union. Rugby has been influenced by the culture of greed that has taken hold of professional football.

Irish rugby is now a ruthless business serving the interests of the rich and the powerful of the land and of the self-selecting clique that manages the game.

It is no longer a sport but a commodity to be sold at the highest price the market will stand.

Last Saturday I could have wept as the cameras panned across a sea of empty seats. The Lansdowne Road triumphant sound was reduced to a whimper.

It all makes me long for the days when tickets were affordable.

The proximity of warm bodies that kept us cosy on those bitter winter days is now replaced by the tweed rug.

Perhaps Yeats might again remark: "A terrible beauty is born."

PHILIP O'NEILL

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