Monday 20 November 2017

Croke Park chiefs celebrate bumper €8m weekend bonanza

The clean-up operation underway at Croke Park after last night’s semi-final replay to get the stadium ready for today’s All-Ireland hurling final
The clean-up operation underway at Croke Park after last night’s semi-final replay to get the stadium ready for today’s All-Ireland hurling final

Damian Lawlor

The GAA are celebrating a windfall of almost €8m as they enjoy their most lucrative weekend of the year with two sell-out matches in Croke Park in two days.

Today's All-Ireland hurling final will rake in almost €5.6m, while yesterday's Dublin-Mayo All-Ireland football semi-final replay is understood to have yielded just over €2m in gate receipts.

There will be massive overheads associated with the staging of these two games but it still represents the most successful weekend of the season by some distance.

Tickets for yesterday's replay were snapped up immediately after they went on sale, with demand said to be unprecedented. The GAA released an initial tranche of 10,000 tickets for public sale early in the week but they were sold in a number of minutes. Lengthy queues were reported at the Croke Park ticket office on Dorset Street.

And tickets were also hard to come by for this afternoon's hurling decider between Kilkenny and Galway.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Independent understands that former Cork coach Kieran Kingston is the hot favourite to replace Jimmy Barry-Murphy as the Rebels' senior hurling manager.

Cork football chiefs are also in the process of nailing down a replacement for Brian Cuthbert. The names of John Cleary, Ronan McCarthy, Ephie Fitzgerald and Ned English have all been submitted for consideration, with Cleary the leading contender.

Kevin McStay is the man that Roscommon want to replace John Evans and it is looking increasingly likely he will be confirmed in the hot-seat soon. McStay lives in Roscommon and guided county champions St Brigid's to All-Ireland club success in 2013. He missed out on landing the Mayo role last year after James Horan resigned, with the job going instead to Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly.

McStay is the popular choice among Roscommon supporters and the county board has appointed a committee to plan for the selection of a new manager.

Evans, meanwhile, has been linked with the vacant Kildare football position. The Kerry native has an excellent record, and after leaving Roscommon speculation has mounted that he could be the man to replace Jason Ryan. Kildare under 21 manager Brian Murphy's name has also been mentioned as has a 'dream team' combination of Glenn Ryan, Dermot Earley and Anthony Rainbow.

In Tyrone, there is work to be done before Mickey Harte is reappointed at their helm. Harte is said to be looking for a three-year extension but has been offered just one.

Tyrone officials are also looking for a managerial charter to be adhered to for all their management teams and one stumbling block could be co-operation with all media outlets. Harte has refused to conduct interviews with RTE for the past few seasons and this could be an issue in his re-appointment to a position he has held since 2003.

Laois hurling chiefs are hoping that Seamus 'Cheddar' Plunkett will stay at the helm for another season. Nominations have been sought for both the county minor and under 21 positions but not the senior post, giving rise to hope that the popular manager will stay in charge. The Laois football position, however, is open with no obvious favourite for that role.

Tipperary football officials could well consider a joint ticket of under 21 manager Tommy Twomey and last year's senior coach Michael McGeehin in their bid to find a successor for Peter Creedon. Jason Ryan's name has been linked with the post but it's expected that the county could look internally to continue their development as a football force.

Sunday Indo Sport

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