'Season ticket' proving winner with Premier fans ahead of new campaign
SUPPORTERS in Tipperary, Dublin, Kilkenny, Mayo, Down and Armagh clearly have high hopes for the year ahead as they lead the interest table in the GAA's season-ticket scheme.
However, Limerick and Waterford fans are the biggest winners as the scheme allows them to attend both the Munster hurling and football semi-finals, whereas it's confined to provincial first round or quarter-finals for most counties.
That's because Limerick and Waterford received byes to both Munster semi-finals and the scheme includes admission to all National League games as well as first championship games. Admission to provincial semi-finals costs more than earlier round games -- hence the good fortune of counties who automatically reached the last four.
Kilkenny and Clare (hurling), and Galway (football) also received byes into provincial semi-finals while, in the case of Roscommon and Mayo, special allowances have been made as their first-round Connacht football championships games are away to New York and London respectively.
The season ticket will apply to both first-round games and should Roscommon and/or Mayo win, they will also be valid for the semi-finals, as it was deemed unfair to confine it to games played in Gaelic Park and Ruislip.
The season ticket costs €75 per code per county for all league games, as well as the first provincial championship game. It also entitles holders to a €5 reduction for all tickets, other than provincial and All-Ireland finals, plus the option of buying an All-Ireland ticket if the holder's county is involved. However, to qualify for the latter concession the holder must have attended 60pc of the league games.
GAA ticketing manager Ronan Murphy said that there had been increased interest in the season ticket this year and with three weeks to go to the start of the leagues, it's likely to be the best supported scheme since it was introduced a few years ago.
Uptake is especially strong in Dublin, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Mayo, Armagh and Down which, presumably, represents a view that they are all headed for good campaigns.
Tipperary hurling has shown the biggest percentage increase, which is hardly surprising after their All-Ireland win. And with the scheme also applying to their first-round Munster championship game against Cork in Thurles, Tipp fans obviously see it as excellent value.
Dublin's return to Croke Park for the NFL has boosted sales in the capital, while there's particular interest in Down and Armagh, both of whom are in Division 1 and who clash in the Ulster quarter-final on May 28.