GAA chiefs nationwide have expressed satisfaction that there have been no significant falls in attendances at county finals despite the current economic climate.
Another ten county finals between hurling and football took place last weekend with county board officials in Cork, Monaghan, Offaly and Roscommon all revealing crowd levels at their showpiece events were on a par with last season’s figures.
However, there was some disquiet in Kildare at the €20 cost of admission to their senior hurling decider between Celbridge and Coill Dubh in Newbridge. That game took place as part of a triple-header involving the county intermediate and minor B hurling finals but chairman Pádraig Ashe insisted the price was set at the start of this year.
“This was all done transparently at the start of the year when we laid out our prices for all championships. The figures were circulated around the county and people were made aware of them. I think you have a situation, whereby people might only be interested in one game and then leave, which leads to their annoyance over the price.
“But we’re providing a quality full programme of games and because of that I’d stand over our price.”
Monaghan PRO Siobhán McQuillan felt the county board’s decision to stage Sunday’s SFC final between Clontibret and Magheracloone in Páirc Grattan, Inniskeen for the first time was vindicated by the success of the event.
“It was €13 to get into the game, €5 for students and a crowd of around 5,000 were present. It was a very positive experience for GAA in the county and there was a great atmosphere with the game being held in a new and smaller ground. The good weather certainly helped it and we’re very happy with how the Inniskeen GAA club handled the event. I’m sure it’ll be a success for next week’s replay as well.”
Cork PRO Ger Lane expressed satisfaction at the crowd for the senior hurling final between Sarsfields and Glen Rovers but admitted TG4’s live coverage of the game dissuaded some supporters from attending.
“We charged €20 for the covered stand and €18 for the uncovered stand”, he said. “The attendance was 11,428 and we had expected somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000. We’d a very attractive curtain-raiser as well in the Premier IHC decider between Tracton and Ballymartle, which would have got around 6,000 I’d imagine if it’d been a stand alone fixture.
“The weather in Cork wasn’t great which might have taken from the crowd and from talking to people the televising of the senior final did take from it as well. But we haven’t reached 15,000 in a good few years so the attendance is in line with recent finals.”
In Offaly there was a positive reaction to their SFC showdown between Rhode and Clara.
“The football final in the county has seen healthy attendances in recent years,” said PRO Brendan Minnock. “You’d the same teams as last year’s final so there was a bit of rivalry there and the crowd held up. It was around 6,600 with a price of €15 to get in. We were very happy with the turnout.”
Finally Roscommon hurling board chairman Anthony Flaherty described the crowd for their final clash between Four Roads and Padraig Pearses in Athleague ‘as good as they’d ever had’.
“We’re very happy with it. It was €15 to get in but the U16 final between the two clubs was on before it and that helped to get a crowd in. I’m not sure of the overall figure but it was as good an crowd as we’ve ever had.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved