Munster chiefs steer clear of GAA–Euros fixture clash

Munster Council chairman Sean Walsh last night revealed that the provincial body acknowledged the attraction of the Republic of Ireland’s participation in Euro 2012 next month when organising their programme of games for this summer’s inter-county senior championships.

Walsh cited the decision to organise the Munster football semi-finals for the evening of June 9 and the afternoon of June 10, before Giovanni Trapattoni’s side play their first Euro 2012 group game later that night against Croatia.

“We’re smart enough to know people want to watch Ireland and they want to watch them in major competitions. We have to respect that. We’re not in the business of scheduling games and making people choose between our games and games on television. We’re going to accommodate people as much as possible. You can see that from our schedule.

“We’re giving the people of our province the chance to see both semi-finals. It’s a very big summer for sport and particularly sport on television. But they’re television sports whereas the biggest home games that are going to be on home soil are GAA games.”

Walsh also insisted the provincial council chiefs were aware of the economic realities facing families in their province and have set their ticket prices for games with that in mind.

“I know people say administrators in the GAA are not tuned in, we’re very tuned in on what’s happening on the ground.

“We are all family people, we all know that families are struggling with mortgages and everyday expenses. We have taken the decision that we will try to help families as much as we possibly can to get to our matches, and also the people on the terraces, which is where the biggest drop-off has been, 25-35 year-olds who may be out of work.

“It’s now 22% cheaper to go into our terraces than it was 10 years ago, and that’s the only thing that I see that’s cheaper than it was 10 years ago. People love to criticise administrators. I’m long enough around to know that. I played until I was 42 years of age and I know that people love to talk to players and they love to talk to managers. People don’t want to be talking to administrators.

“We have to make the decisions and when we make good ones we rarely get praised for it. When we make bad ones we get slated for it. We just have to live with that.”

Walsh is hopeful the innovative decision to hold a Munster senior championship double-header on Sunday week in Thurles when Kerry face Tipperary in football and Limerick clash with Tipperary in hurling, will be rewarded with a decent crowd.

“I can’t ever remember seeing it happen before. We took the decision on the grounds that we would be asking Tipperary supporters to come to see the footballers on the 20th and then the hurlers on the 27th. The council looked at it in detail and we thought that we’d go with it. It meant rescheduling intermediate hurling and junior football games for the night before, Saturday May 26.

“But in the cold light of day when we look at it, we feel that it’s a very good decision. It’ll give the football fraternity the opportunity to come and look at a top class hurling match in Limerick and Tipperary.”


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