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Ticket prices let us in on reality

The story, reported in today's paper, that Kilkenny fans are returning tickets for this Sunday's All-Ireland hurling final, demonstrates yet again the impact of the recession on our biggest sporting organisation.

All through the summer the GAA has striven to keep ticket prices at affordable levels. There have been special family tickets which have kept the cost of attending the organisation's flagship games within the reach of most fans. This has been rewarded by excellent attendances at most of this year's Gaelic football and hurling championship games.

However, now that we have reached the finals different rules apply. Anyone attending Sunday's decider between Kilkenny and Tipperary will have to shell out ¿80 for a ticket. While most fans wouldn't have given a second thought to paying this amount in the good times, it's a very different story now.

For a parent with one or two children, attending the final will, when travel and other expenses are added, set them back a couple of hundred euro. That sort of spare cash is no longer readily available for most people. If it wants to keep the fans streaming through the turnstiles the GAA will have to cut its ticket prices.