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Sunday 4 December 2016

FAI shows rugby bosses how to fill seats -- for €10

Daniel McDonnell and David Kelly

Published 09/11/2010 | 05:00

Daniel Kane (5), from Lucan, Co Dublin, waits as Jonathan Sexton signs an autograph for him yesterday
Daniel Kane (5), from Lucan, Co Dublin, waits as Jonathan Sexton signs an autograph for him yesterday
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll signs autographs after squad training ahead of their autumn international match against Samoa
The Irish players in training yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile

SOCCER has given rugby a lesson in ticket-pricing after almost 20,000 cut-price seats were snapped up for the FAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium this weekend.

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Starting at just €10, tickets for Shamrock Rovers v Sligo Rovers have been selling extremely well -- compared to the massive prices that have left rugby fans shunning the IRFU's autumn internationals.

The mass desertion of the fantastic new stadium led rugby bosses yesterday to literally beg fans to attend the next games against Samoa and Argentina -- but the pleas may fall on deaf ears.

Ireland manager Paul McNaughton appealed to supporters yesterday to turn up for the Ireland v Samoa game on Saturday amid fears that the stadium will be less than half full.

But a fans' boycott against the ticketing policy for the November series is set to continue with the battle for hearts and minds apparently lost by the IRFU.

Despite a crippling recession, tickets for the Samoa game still start at €50, with some tickets for the forthcoming Argentina game coming in at a whopping €90. Tickets for the South Africa match were similarly expensive.

In sharp contrast, the most expensive seats for domestic soccer's showpiece event are just €30. Last weekend, more than 16,000 empty seats for the game against South Africa severely embarrassed the IRFU and shone a spotlight on the prices they expected supporters to pay.

"I'm not ashamed to say that I would ask those people to come to the match," said McNaughton.

"If they have got tickets they might think the small game is the Samoa game. It's not a small game for us.

"The IRFU has obviously put up its hands in terms of the mess that was made. In terms of this game, it is a very important game for us. We need to get back on the winning trail," he added.

With the lower tier of the ground almost fully subscribed for its football final, the FAI has released tickets for the upper tier at the same price of €10 for an adult and €5 for a child.

Sunday's showpiece is set to be the best-attended final in two decades. Some 30,000 were present for the 1990 final between Bray and St Francis, and the FAI is hopeful that the attractive prices will push the crowd close to that mark.

The FAI itself, however, has not been immune form accusations of greed. Earlier this year it was accused of ripping off fans for tickets to see key games against Russia and Andorra.

Thousands of tickets, priced between €40 and €100, are still available for Ireland's soccer friendly against Norway at Lansdowne Road on Wednesday next week.

Irish Independent

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