Wednesday 28 September 2016

Munster GAA hit in the pocket as senior finals hit by 40 per cent attendance slump

Published 12/07/2016 | 02:30

A general view of the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Tipperary and Waterford
A general view of the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Tipperary and Waterford

Munster GAA has taken a heavy financial hit after attendances at their senior hurling and football finals decreased by almost 40 per cent on 2015.

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That's excluding last year's Kerry-Cork football replay, which attracted an attendance of 32,234.

The total turnout at this year's Kerry-Tipperary (football) and Tipperary-Waterford (hurling) finals was just over 48,020, down from 78,747 at the drawn Kerry-Cork (football) and Tipperary-Waterford (hurling) deciders in 2015.

The 14,000 drop for the football since wasn't surprising since a Tipp-Kerry final is not as big a draw as Kerry-Cork.

However, the 16,588 decrease for the hurling final is almost certainly a direct consequence of the decision to play the game in Limerick rather than Thurles.

The same pairing attracted 43,096 to Semple Stadium last year but only 26,508 travelled to the Gaelic Grounds last Sunday.

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"It was disappointing. We were hoping for a crowd of between 30,000 and 35,000 but obviously people had their own reasons for not travelling. The weather didn't help and neither did the distance from Waterford in particular. It also appears that quite a lot of Tipperary people who were in Thurles last year didn't travel," said Munster PRO Ger Ryan.

The Munster Council had no option but to play the game in Limerick after Waterford decided against returning to Semple Stadium for a second successive year. Páirc Uí Chaoimh usually hosts Tipp v Waterford championship games but is currently unavailable due to redevelopment work.

The Gaelic Grounds have around 8,500 seats in the covered stands, compared with around 20,000 in Semple Stadium, a factor which became very important last Sunday as weather conditions deteriorated.

"Every euro we take in goes back to clubs and counties so it's always disappointing when crowds are down - whatever the reason," said Ryan.

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Irish Independent

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