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GAA chiefs fear huge cash blow if Dubs don’t make final

The GAA could lose up to €600,000 if Dublin don’t qualify for the Allianz NFL Division One decider at Croke Park on April 25.

That's the estimated difference between gate receipts for a top flight final featuring Dublin and Cork as opposed to Mayo and Cork, which is the only other possible pairing.

Defeats by Cork and Galway have left the Dubs needing to beat Tyrone in Omagh on Sunday week to have any chance of reaching the decider for the first time since 1999.

If Dublin win and Mayo lose to Cork it will be a Dublin-Cork final. If Dublin win and Mayo win or draw, it will be a Cork-Mayo final.

It's unlikely that Mayo v Cork (Div One) and Down v Armagh or Donegal (Div Two) finals would attract much more than 30,000 to Croke Park but it could soar to at least 70,000 if Dublin were involved.

Dublin have been involved in some massive league encounters in recent years, including last year's clash with Tyrone which attracted 79,161 to Croke Park on the opening night of the competition. It returned gate receipts of €993,556 which, remarkably, was more than the rest of the subsequent Division One games, including the final, put together. Those 28 games returned €805,137.

Meanwhile the annual exodus of county sides to exotic locations for pre-season training and bonding sessions is underway, with the footballers of Meath and Kerry already in Portugal while the hurlers of Cork, Tipperary and Waterford are all poised to take in the sun later this month.

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But GAA President Christy Cooney would prefer to see the money invested in the local economy: “If we're going to have opportunities with bonding, if you want to call it that, if we can do it at home we should do it at home and support our own people.

“That's my view. Support our sponsors and support our hotels. We have a lot of top-class facilities in the country and why shouldn't we use those?

“It's down to the County Board and the team management. We have no say in how they're going to train the teams or how they're going to bond or what they're going to do.

“I'm not aware of who's going but I would much prefer if we would support the industry at home.”

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