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Joe Kernan: Reducing prices would be such a welcome ticket for fans

It is encouraging to learn that the GAA may be about to consider a reduction in ticket prices for the National Leagues and All Ireland Club Championship series.

We are living in difficult financial times and I earnestly hope that the authorities will address the issue of match ticket prices as a matter of considerable urgency.

While the GAA, in common with many other bodies throughout the country, is definitely feeling the pinch right now, it has cause for relief in one area.

When it was decided a few years ago to open Croke Park to international soccer and rugby, the timing could hardly have been better.

The recession had not then kicked in, interest in sport was at an all-time high and fans were clamouring for tickets for matches in all codes, particularly the real glamour ties.

The GAA quite rightly pocketed a substantial sum which was subsequently used to improve and develop coaching structures in various counties.

But now that the Aviva Stadium is up and running — in a manner of speaking — the FAI and the IRFU no longer require Croke Park for international matches.

Maybe that’s just as well in one sense. How many games in either code would attract 82,000 fans to Headquarters against the current financial backdrop?

Not too many, I would wager.

Look at the farce that evolved during the November rugby internationals at the Aviva when some of the games were played in front of a half-full ground.

Time has shown that the GAA made a very prudent decision at just the right time.

Belfast Telegraph


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