County Boards coffers hit by rugby clash
Published 08/10/2015 | 02:30
The timing of Ireland's games in the rugby World Cup will result in a heavy financial hit for the GAA, starting this weekend when attendances at Sunday's county finals are expected to be lower than usual due to the Ireland v France game in Cardiff.
If Ireland win, their quarter-final will be played on Sunday week, which is also scheduled to host several more county finals.
And, if Ireland progress to the semi-final as pool winners, they will be in action on Sunday, October 25, which is also scheduled to host county finals, as well as provincial championship games.
A total of 18 senior county deciders are on next Sunday's programme.
The Ireland-France game starts at 4.45 and while some counties have brought forward the start time of their county finals in order to have them finished by kick-off time, it remains to be seen if it has the desired effect on attendances.
Limerick and Clare are among the high-profile hurling finals that will start at 3.0pm, while Cork has a 3.15 throw-in, which means it will finish 15 minutes before kick-off in the Millennium Stadium.
Wicklow (2.30), Offaly (2.45), Carlow (3.0), Galway (3.0), Cavan (3.0) will all have completed their football finals before the start of the rugby but Tyrone and Westmeath (3.30) will complete their games at the same time as the start of the rugby game.
Armagh and Down both have 4.0 throw-ins, leaving them with a 5.15 finish.
County finals provide a lucrative source of revenue for county boards and are more important than ever at a time when costs are increasing all the time.
And while it's difficult to quantify how much gates will be reduced because of the clash with rugby, it's estimated that it could reach €25,000 in some counties. However, while county boards will suffer losses, pubs in the vicinity of venues stand to cash in on the influx of supporters.