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Fans getting fantastic deals, say Ulster Council

By John Campbell

Value for money is the watchword for the Ulster Council going into 2012.

The decision to introduce tickets at reduced prices for the recent provincial club football and hurling championships has now been followed by the “spectacular success” of the season ticket initiative for the Power NI Dr McKenna Cup competition.

The Council’s Head of Public Affairs Ryan Feeney last night emphasised that providing top fare for reasonable admission prices is now a priority for the governing body of the GAA here.

“There is no doubt that the decision to implement a price reduction for the club championship proved a winner and I can only describe our current scheme of offering £20 season tickets for the McKenna Cup as nothing less than a spectacular success,” revealed Feeney.

Certainly, Ulster has been leading the way in wooing the fans.

The provincial football decider between Crossmaglen Rangers and Burren attracted an attendance of almost 9,000 while in contrast the much-hyped Munster final between Dr Crokes and UUC brought in only 2,600 paying customers to Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney.

The McKenna Cup season ticket guarantees fans admission to a minimum of three and a maximum of five games — a deal which has been enthusiastically hailed within the province.

But the Ulster Council has no intention of resting on its laurels with further pricing initiatives currently under discussion.

“We are always looking at ways of offering the best deals to followers especially in the current recession. We are particularly keen to take on board the needs of younger people, students and pensioners.

“It is important that we keep our games within the gambit of everyone,” added Ryan.

And he stressed that by buying season tickets or by paying at the turnstiles, fans are making an important investment in the GAA.

“It is worth remembering that 85 per cent of the money lifted at our games is ploughed back into our clubs and counties to finance coaching, development and other elements.

“By coming out to matches supporters are actually ensuring the continuing well-being of the Association,” pointed out Feeney.

The mild weather to date has spawned the hope that the McKenna Cup competition, which swings into action tomorrow, can be completed on schedule.

“Fingers crossed, the weather will continue in its present vein,” said Feeney. “Last year we were forced to defer the final but we’d prefer to have everything done and dusted before the League.”

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