Thursday 19 January 2017

Replay sends GAA chiefs laughing all the way to bank

Published 19/09/2016 | 02:30

A spectacular aerial view of Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor kicking the equalising point in yesterday’s All-Ireland final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
A spectacular aerial view of Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor kicking the equalising point in yesterday’s All-Ireland final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Cillian O'Connor's equalising point in the All-Ireland football final will earn the GAA a €3 million gate bonanza for the replay on Saturday week.

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It will be even more lucrative if ticket prices are maintained at yesterday's levels. However, stand prices were dropped from €80 to €50, with a corresponding terrace decrease, for the 2012-2013-2014 hurling finals replays.

A replay is a real boost to GAA coffers, especially since it comes so soon after a run of three successive All-Ireland hurling final re-runs in 2012-13-14.

The Dublin-Mayo replay will be the first in a football final since 2000, when Kerry beat Galway. Prior to that, Meath and Mayo had drawn in 1996, with the Royals winning the replay by a point.

The decision to play a replay (if required) on the Saturday week after the draw was taken earlier in the year.

Croke Park is required for the All-Ireland ladies finals next Sunday and neither Dublin nor Mayo would be happy to replay on a six-day turnaround next Saturday.

Ó Fearghail: Replay boost to coffers. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Ó Fearghail: Replay boost to coffers. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

Yesterday's game was an especially bruising encounter, leaving players in need of more than six days to recover.

The 13-day gap also helps on the administration side, including the distribution of tickets to all 32 counties.

A downside to the replay date is that a bus strike is scheduled for Dublin on Saturday week. Apart from discommoding supporters, it will also greatly increase traffic congestion around Croke Park and this will mean extra logistical headaches for GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail and his Croke Park team.

While the GAA's financial department will be pleased with the replay, clubs in Dublin and Mayo face a further disruption to their county championships, which will now have to be put back by a minimum of two weeks.

There was already some disquiet in Mayo when a round of club games was put off after the semi-final win over Tipperary in order to give the county squad an uninterrupted period to prepare for yesterday's game.

Irish Independent

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