€20 is too much for a county final

The Galway county final was on last Sunday in Tuam Stadium and it ended in a disappointing draw, Corofin 0-9 and Mountbellew/Moylough 0-9. The replay is on Sunday week. The standard of fare on offer was very poor and despite splendid weather conditions for football, none of the Mountbellew forwards could manage a single score from play in the entire 60 minutes and the Corofin forwards weren’t much better, hitting nine wides in the first half alone and only scoring 0-3 (1f ) in the second.

Only the closeness of the contest provided anything to get excited about, and like dismal sex, that excitement didn’t last too long either. Since the game, a huge number of disgruntled and annoyed Galway GAA people have been onto me about the entrance price and the price of the programme. Some even took the time to e-mail me and phone me to voice their displeasure about the fact that it cost €20 for adults and €10 for students to get into Tuam stadium last Sunday. And there was also a lot of disquiet about the fact that the Luach for the Clár Oifigiúil was a saucy €5.

As one dedicated and most decent GAA woman who attended the game as a neutral pointed out to me early on Monday morning at work, it had cost €50 for herself, her husband, and their Leaving Cert daughter, to get in the gate, a tenner for two programmes, and €2 to park in the Tuam mart. This was her viewpoint, and it reflected many other people’s who have contacted me during the past few days and it has a high degree of credibility.

“For €62, you’d want a lot better value than we got from the game. We definitely won’t be going back for the replay. €15 would have been plenty rather than trying to skim the last few euro from those that are good enough to go. And a fiver for the programme is completely excessive. They’ll be going on until they kill the golden goose.. It was a very poor game and they’d want to ease back the prices for the replay. Do they not know that we are in the middle of a recession, and an awful lot of people cannot afford that kind of money?” She makes some very valid points and patrons were in effect paying €20 for one match as it is unlikely most people would have had much interest in the Junior B county final that preceded the game or vice versa. Likewise the €5 for the programme was far too much. There were 58 pages, but over half of them were advertisements. You know, the type of stuff that you’d want to be paid to read, rather than pay to read it.

All-Ireland football final programme was only €5

The All-Ireland final programme was €5 this year and had 98 pages in it, and for many it is a collector’s item and a souvenir of the day out. Likewise the programme for the 2009 Connacht football final was only €4. So how can a county board charge €5 for a inferior publication.

Let’s be fair here. GAA people know that it costs a colossal amount of money each year to run county teams, and no doubt the next few years will be very expensive ones for Galway football, but there is a balance that has to be maintained and I think that €15 to get in and €3 for a programme would have generated more goodwill rather than leaving people feeling like they had been sheared. Sheep don’t mind being sheared for their wool, but people react badly to it, especially if the clippers pinches the skin.


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