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Joe Kernan: Fans turning to clubs to get action... but counties may suffer

Current GAA President Christy Cooney has said more than once that the club is the bedrock of the Association.

While inter-county league and championship matches tend to dominate the fixtures calendar, there is no doubt that the clubs provide the outlet for the vast majority of GAA members to engage in games.

In this connection, the provincial club championships have acquired enhanced status over the course of recent years.

Right now, the various county championships in Ulster have reached a very interesting stage and the indications that we will see some of the traditional big guns going on to collect titles.

I like the look of Burren in Down, Ballinderry in Derry, Devenish in Fermanagh, St Gall’s in Antrim, Carrickmore in Tyrone and Crossmaglen in Armagh — but there is many’s a slip ’twixt cup and lip!

The expectation is that the concluding games in the various county championships and the forthcoming Ulster Club Championship itinerary will attract big crowds. Indeed, some of the attendances at such matches are certainly on a par with those at a number of National League and All-Ireland Qualifier ties.

It is much cheaper for fans to support their own clubs of course than to have to travel considerable distances to get behind their counties, often in depressing weather conditions.

I was surprised to discover in Dublin on Sunday just how many All-Ireland hurling final tickets were readily available on the streets prior to the game.

There were indications last week that tickets had not sold as fast as had been thought and I have no doubt that the touts took a pasting in the hours leading up to the game as they desperately sought to offload what appeared to be hundreds of tickets.

It remains to be seen if this situation will pertain in relation to the All-Ireland football final — I hope not as I would prefer to see people who have supported their teams over the course of the year get coveted tickets rather than see them go to the one-game-a-year merchants.

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