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Ulster’s plan stays on track despite drop in revenue

By John Campbell

The Ulster GAA Council incurred a loss of 1m euro on its overall Championship ticket receipts last year yet still managed to remain on course in relation to its economic strategy plan encompassing the period up until 2015.

The Council’s decision to reduce the cost of tickets because of the harsh economic climate in order to facilitate its followers coupled with the weakening of sterling against the euro meant that the governing body’s coffers suffered.

And now in his annual report which will be presented to the Council Convention on Saturday secretary Danny Murphy will urge the GAA authorities at the highest level to conduct a review of ticket prices with special emphasis on current exchange rates.

Murphy, who stresses that the Ulster Council has managed to reduce the financial impact incurred by the ticket sales losses by exercising careful husbandry in other areas of it operations, insists that the Ulster Council is the only provincial body adversely affected by the ticket sales exchange problem.

“We have endured a tough year economically but we have nonetheless managed to deliver in all spheres and that is important. However, I feel that an overall review of ticket prices should be conducted by Croke Park with special consideration being given to the exchange rate implications,” says Murphy.

It is estimated that in terms of the exchange rate alone, aside from the actual reduction in the price of tickets which has been in vogue, the Ulster Council has lost 100,000 euro.

While the economic review of the Council’s workings will certainly strike a chord with Convention delegates, there will also be considerable interest in the formal appointment of Aoghan Farrell as the new chairman in succession to Tom Daly.

Farrell will step up from vice-chairman and certainly has a hard act to follow as Daly has left a huge imprint not just on the provincial GAA landscape but on the overall sporting scene.

Only yesterday he was honoured at a special function at Stormont to mark the end of his term in office. A cross-party group of MLA’s and election candidates that included Basil McCrea, Trevor Ringland and John McAllister from the Ulster Unionist Party were among those who endorsed the tributes to Daly.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness led the plaudits for Daly who has been unstinting in his efforts to enhance the GAA as an integral element of the life of the province.

In the sphere of community relations, Daly helped to push back the barriers and helped the GAA to break new ground within the Protestant community in particular.

He will make his farewell address to the Ulster Council on Saturday but it is expected that he will continue to have a role within the Association.

Belfast Telegraph

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