Angry Michael ‘Babs’ Keating bites back at Tipp board in All-Ireland ticket row

Michael ‘Babs’ Keating has slammed Tipperary officials over their decision to refuse him a ticket for the All-Ireland hurling final.

The two-time All-Ireland medal winner is extremely disappointed that his request for tickets was turned down, given the decades of service he gave to the county.

Keating was snubbed following comments he made in a newspaper column in the wake of the county’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Galway. There is a long-standing tradition in Tipperary, as is the case in most counties, that ex-players and former management personnel receive tickets from the board for the biggest day of the hurling calendar.

“I walked the streets of Dublin collecting money for the development of Semple Stadium for the centenary All-Ireland back in 1984, when Thurles hosted the match,” he wrote in The Sun newspaper.

“Some of the present county board in Tipp were in short pants when I managed the team and we were in a bad state financially.

“When I was manager, when we had injuries I depended on a medical team who were very close friends of mine. They never took a penny for looking after the team at the time. I am talking about surgeons and doctors who came on board with me.

“I never asked for a penny or received one. The one thing I asked for was an All-Ireland ticket and I wasn’t looking for a freebie. I paid.”

The former Tipperary boss accused Premier chiefs of holding a very loose definition of what it is to be a volunteer.

“No matter who I managed or where I went, I was a volunteer, including five years with UCD.

“I looked after players at every stage along the way as a manager. And that included looking for and receiving employment for fellas to ensure they were kept at home when emigration was a huge problem for the country and the GAA. Of all the functions I attended over the years, both at home and outside the county, that appreciation was always shown for volunteers. But if the work I did as a volunteer meant that you get no ticket for an All-Ireland, I beg to question what the word volunteer means in Tipp.”

He believes the remarks he made that so irked the county board executive relating to a pre-championship training camp in Spain and the week spent in Carton House prior to Tipp’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Galway were misinterpreted.

“The comments were meant for all of Ireland — not Tipperary specifically. I made that clear. My column was based on extravagance and stewardship. The grass is not greener on foreign shores and we’ve facilities as good here if not better than what’s in Portugal or Spain.

“I had a lot of compliments from other counties, where I spoke about managers exceeding what was expected of them.”


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