A senior Munster Council official has accused the media of conducting a "negative agenda" regarding attendances at GAA games. Munster PRO Ed Donnelly claims that, while there has always been a focus on attendances in the media, it reached new heights last year.
"A similar focus does not seem to be as apparent with other sports," he writes in Munster Council's annual report. He cites attendances at last year's Munster SHC which, he claims, were the "subject of negative comment" despite showing a drop of only 300 on 2011 for the four games.
"Measure this against a 5.7pc increase in attendances for the Munster minor and U-21 championships – an increase of 2,802 from 2011 – and it puts into perspective the negative agenda in relation to attendances."
"The media then turn to GAA personalities to attribute this perceived fall-off to items such as ticket prices, the format of the championship or the standard of play. This is a common practice, but if attendances are not falling dramatically, the origins of the premise are based on incorrect information.
"The facts rarely receive comment or mention of any description when they show that the dramatic fall-off in attendances written about during the summer turn out not to be accurate," writes Donnelly.
Attendances for last year's Munster SFC dropped by 24pc on 2011. Donnelly explains that the differential was due to Kerry and Cork meeting in a Munster final in Killarney in 2011, whereas they clashed in a semi-final in Pairc Ui Chaoimh in 2012.
Income in Munster last year was down by €343,000 on 2011. However, it still grossed €5.8m. Gate receipts totalled €2.8m, down €442,000 on 2011. The SHC yielded €1.4m, while the SFC returned €650,000.
The Munster Convention will be held in the Bunratty Castle Hotel on February 8.