Cooney confident crowds will not decline
WITH Croke Park's top brass on the verge of announcing reductions in ticket prices for the All-Ireland series up until the national semi-finals, GAA president Christy Cooney believes this summer's attendances will equal 2010 levels.
Despite reports of poor ticket sales in Cork for the county's championship opener against Tipperary in Thurles on Sunday, Cooney insisted that there will be no dramatic slump in numbers going through the turnstiles.
"We'll have a better idea (of attendances) in two or three weeks' time," said Cooney, who was speaking at the launch of the Bord Gais Energy U-21 hurling championship.
"There are a lot of games on this weekend and we'll have a better judgment on how they've gone and we'll see from there.
"If we can hold our numbers as well as last year, we'll be very pleased because these are challenging times for everybody. I still think the potential is there for us to hold our numbers."
And Cooney also reiterated that Croke Park has no direct say in the prices set by provincial councils for games under their jurisdiction.
"We had some discussions earlier this year with the provinces about ticket prices," he said.
"They had their views and what they felt was appropriate to charge and the packages they're putting in place. Let's see how it goes.
"In fairness to the four provinces, they're trying to make it as attractive as possible to get people in.
"The other side we have to look at is that if the provinces don't get the money in, there's less money going to clubs for club development, there's less money going into coaching and games development, so they have to try and balance the books with the commitments they have in place as well.
"The provinces make their own decision about ticket prices. Centrally, we haven't an input into that."