THIS week let me start off with a plea for all the people who give of their time week in and week out to the GAA.
These people are the backbone of the association here in Kerry. These are the people whose very involvement might leave them out of pocket, especially if they are ordinary working people and are not in an area where its beneficial for their business to be active in the local club.
These are the people who give their time developing facilities for the local club. These are the people who give of their time developing the club and county players of the future. These are the people who put in place the financial structure of the club and administer some of the ticket schemes for the County Board with a incentive for the club.
So what am I on about here? Well it is a long going on saga. I am on about the poor standard of ticket being allocated to clubs and also the poor standard of ticket coming into the county for years now. This should be brought up by the County Board with Croke Park – it's not as if this hasn't being going on for years.
Club people tell me this and point out now that club supporters who bought in to schemes administered by our own clubs on behalf of the County Board are not joining and, in fact, are leaving these schemes because of the standard of ticket being allocated to this county.
I have seen fellows in Croke Park who would not class them selves as GAA people with the best of tickets, while people, who gave their entire life have to the association, are in possession of tickets that make it hard for them to reach their seat not to mind the fact that they are a long way from the action and find it difficult to see the game. I know that this is an on-going saga for Kerry supporters and one would think that some type of appreciation would be shown to the Kerry supporters, afterall they are in Croke Park on a regular basis.
It can be quite annoying for a person who joins a scheme to help both his club and county to think that someone can go on Ticketmaster or some other outlet and end up with a prime ticket that are not available to the club officer, the club player or the club member. This practice has in my view gone on long enough. We need the County Board to take this to the very top of the association.
It has been going on since the development of Croke Park and, to be honest, it nearly has always been the case. 'They're from Kerry, any old type of ticket will do them," seems to be the approach.
In case anyone thinks I'm having a go at the present board officers, that's not so. Like I said this has been going on for a lot of years and we have had former officers, who went on to powerful positions within the Association, but very little has changed about the poor allocation and quality of ticket to those involved in the GAA and general public in Kerry.
Dublin, with all due respects to them, can make an appeal – originally promoted by Jim Gavin – about getting a deal done on tickets for supporters who will take in the hurling and football semi-finals and fair play to them. The Dublin County Board, or someone in Croke Park, came up with a special priced ticket and that's great for the Dublin fans and good luck to them, but bear this in mind: they are at home they will not have to endure the travel cost like other counties.
How many times for example have we seen Cork supporters being dragged to Croke Park on Saturdays and Sundays? I didn't see too many concessions being made to them. I don't begrudge the Dublin fans their break on ticket prices, but what bugs me as a Kerry man is the poor quality of tickets that come in to our county board for distribution.
What I don't like about Joe Brolly and his outburst is its timing. We are at the semi-final stage now of the All Ireland series and do you think it will have a bearing on the outcome of this year's championship? You can bet your life it will. Is Joe trying to introduce another of the soccer rules? That the last man back can be red carded for a foul that prevents a goal? I'm not defending foul play, but Joe should really have held his powder dry until the championship was over and then start a debate on the rules.
Another off-the-wall suggestion came from a former Kerry County Board Chairman, Moyvane's Sean Walsh. Walsh advocated introducing the Sean Cavanagh-type tackle, like they had in the compromise rules. I would be of the view that all our troubles began with the introduction of those series of games.
I would like to just ask this question: what was wrong with our own gaelic football rules? We have got ourselves in to a mess because of fellows meeting too often and thinking they have to change things to justify these meetings.
Unless Pat McEnaney brings his referees together and tells them to ignore the Joe Brolly saga, there will be red cards flying for the remainder of the championship and do u know what team will benefit?
Yeah you got it: Dublin. Why? They have a team with pace.