Call to review All-Ireland ticket prices as recession bites hard

A CALL was made for the GAA leadership at last night’s meeting of Cork County Board for a review of All-Ireland Championship ticket prices in the light of the recession and the growing numbers of people losing their jobs.

Carrigdhoun delegate Willie Coleman raised the issue, remarking that while he could understand ticket prices remaining the same for finals, that the price of admission to preliminary round games should be reduced.

“Ticket prices were fixed at the height of the boom,’’ he said. “We should be pressing for reductions.’’

Chairman Jerry O’Sullivan argued that the GAA was “doing quite well” in comparison to other sports and pointed out that the association had been producing attractive ticket packages. “They appreciate that the boom times are over and they will take that into consideration,’’ he stated.

Meanwhile, cultural officer Liam Ó Laochdha expressed his dissatisfaction with the TV agreement which sees TV3 given the rights to broadcast the All-Ireland minor finals on the basis that no provision was made for the commentary to be “as Gaelige”.

That was all the more regretful, he said, since the GAA was “the best organisation around” at promoting the use of the Irish language. “It’s a shame that they did not think of it,’’ he said.

Central Council delegate Des Cullinane said his view was that because of contractual obligations it would not be possible to force the station to have the finals broadcast in Irish, as heretofore on RTÉ.

Following meetings with divisional committees at junior and juvenile level and adult club and underage officers, Frank Murphy reported that there was now universal support for the establishment of Coiste na nÓg, which will be responsible for the organisation of games at under-14, under-16 and minor level. This involves the merging of the former minor and Bord na nÓg bodies, as recommended in the board’s Strategic Vision and Action Plan.

He informed delegates that there is also strong support for the regional concept, except some variations need to be made in two of the regions.

At adult level, the introduction of the county element of regional leagues also has universal appeal while the introduction of open county-wide junior ‘B’ championships has also been welcomed. Clubs can either take part in this championship or opt out and continue at divisional level.

The question of a ‘second chance’ for teams will be dependent on the number of teams taking part, the secretary explained.

There was overwhelming support for a Competitions Control Committee recommendation that the third level colleges — UCC and CIT — be limited to 30 Cork players in each code.

A request from the divisional committees to organise the preliminary games in the senior championships on a round robin basis was accepted. There will be two groups in football (seven teams) and one in hurling (four teams) and games will have to be played during the month of March. Carrigdhoun will not be competing in either championship. Carbery and Seandun will only participate in football.

Midleton’s proposal for the establishment of a ‘premier’ county U21 hurling championship received some support, but there was strong opposition from the divisions. The chairman pointed out that the current bye-laws stipulate the U21 championships are organised by divisional committees.

* Sympathy was also extended to the Butler and Meaney families following the recent tragedies in Ballycotton.

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