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GAA insist improved season ticket deal not due to flagging sales

THE GAA insisted yesterday that the improved terms and conditions attached to their season tickets does not indicate a drop in demand in the fourth year of the scheme.

Season tickets were previously county specific but, for the first time, anyone who buys one this season can use them to get into any 2012 Allianz League match in the same code.

That includes any league play-offs that arise and the reintroduced semi-finals, as well as all finals.

Season ticket holders will also be covered for the All-Ireland club finals on St Patrick's Day and for the upcoming junior and intermediate club finals in the same code.

The new deal means that buyers of a 2012 football season ticket for any county can access Saturday's double-header in Croke Park (Dublin v Kerry and Kildare v Tyrone) that will kick off the Allianz NFL.

That means that Kildare season ticket holders are covered next weekend even though, paradoxically, those who have bought Club Kildare tickets, which is ostensibly the county's unofficial supporters club, are not covered.

Club Kildare is a local scheme that gives its members free entry into games played within the county.

Saturday's league opener against Tyrone was due to be a home game in Newbridge, but Kildare gave up that advantage to get an extra competitive game in Croke Park and, because of this, Club Kildare members are not covered.

The expansion of the national scheme means that county season tickets -- €85 for adults, €10 for juveniles -- now offer exceptional value, especially for dedicated fans.

Season ticket holders will have access to all league games in the same code, as well as a ticket for their county's opening championship fixtures and the club All-Ireland finals.

Croke Park have confirmed that only Dublin juvenile season tickets have sold out already but have denied that sales are suffering due to the economy.

"We think Dublin (adult) tickets will sell out and there are very strong sales, as usual, in counties like Kilkenny, Kerry, Tipperary and Mayo," Croke Park's ticketing manager Ronan Murphy said.

He said the fact that the scheme has been expanded has nothing to do with slow sales but rather "it indicates our commitment to reward and encourage regular match-goers".

For season ticket holders, if they attend 60pc of their county's league and championship matches, they can qualify to buy an All-Ireland final ticket.

Croke Park have stressed that anyone who has not yet received their season ticket can access next weekend's opening league games if they go to the appropriate stile.

Dublin County Board has also organised a separate €30 ticket deal to cover their three Spring Series double-headers in Croke Park.

Irish Independent