THE Ladies Gaelic Football Association has taken the lead amongst Irish sporting organisations by reducing the admission price to Sunday’s TG4 All-Ireland finals by 20% for supporters of the six participating counties.
The association has developed a well deserved reputation for innovation, with the sin bin, clean pick up off the ground and especially the use of a match clock admired by many Gaelic games observers.
The rule adopted by the GAA this year, whereby the team in possession restarts the game if play is stopped to allow an injured player to receive treatment, also originated in ladies football.
And while the GAA, and in particular the IRFU, have been heavily criticised of late for their ticket prices, ladies football chiefs are anxious not to place too much of a burden on its core support.
“We will be expecting somewhere around 20,000 spectators on Sunday which I think would be quite good, given the harsh economic times” said the president of the LGFA, Pat Quill at Croke Park yesterday.
“I’m sure there’ll be a lot of people coming on the day as well. It’s a great family day out as because you have the run of Croke Park. And if it’s anything like last year when we’d three fantastic games with tremendous value at €25.
“For competing counties, because the supporters have been on the road all year, we’ve dropped the price for €20 to be fair to them. It costs money to follow but it’s great value for three All-Irelands.”
While there is always much conjecture about the cost of holding All-Irelands at HQ for ladies football and camogie, Quill insists that having them anywhere else could not even be considered. He also revealed the GAA provides the facility free of charge.
“People say the GAA charge us. The GAA do not charge us for holding the All-Ireland finals. The security it the big cost we have to pay but we’re hopeful it’s still well worth it because of the profile it gives the game.
“Everybody wants to play in Croke Park, it’s the mecca for anybody in Gaelic games to play in so it’s well worth it.” While delighted by what he said was a brilliant season to date, the saga involving Mayo was an obvious negative point, with the westerners’ county board withdrawing the team from the championship.
Following the intervention of Quill and the executive of the association, Mayo did take their place in the All-Ireland series but handicapped by not having been allowed train by their board until the week before their game with Kerry, and they lost by a point.
Quill is confident that there will be no repeat of the clash between players and officers.
“Of course we didn’t want it to happen but it happened and we addressed it and Mayo did take part… I think Mayo will be a force to be reckoned with next year.
“We have gone in there, we have helped them, we have given them advice and I think action will be taken. We are delighted that they did take part and they showed what great players they were in losing so narrowly to Kerry in that game.
“We’re always available to give people advice and there will be proper structures put in place. There are grievances in everything and it’s a matter of communication, sitting down and explaining, very often, where people are coming from, no matter what angle you’re coming from. I think we have done that and we’ll be carrying it on.
“We set up a committee that met all people concerned, got the views of all people concerned and we’ll be discussing that with management and copying it to everyone concerned.”
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