Novel ticket deals to entice fans

HOME ADVANTAGE for the second round of the All-Ireland football qualifiers will be decided by the toss of a coin, following Sunday evenings draw in Croke Park. While home advantage for this Saturdays first round of matches was based on the first team drawn from the bowl, the second round draw will consist of two bowls – the eight first round winners in one bowl and the eight beaten provincial semi-finalists in the other.

Therefore, the GAAs Central Competition Control Committee (CCCC) will toss a coin to determine which of those teams gets home advantage when they meet on Monday to confirm the throw-in times and venues for the eight second round games, which are all due to be played on Saturday week, July 11th.

Whichever team does win the toss is automatically entitled to home advantage, provided the CCCC deem their home ground is suitable for the fixture.

All eight first round games go ahead this Saturday: Donegal against Carlow, Monaghan against Armagh, Meath against Waterford, Wicklow against Fermanagh, Wexford against Offaly, Louth against Tipperary, Down against London, and Leitrim against Longford.

The usual period of extra-time will also be played if necessary, and provided replays are avoided, these eight first-round winners will then face off against one of the eight teams beaten in the provincial semi-finals: Kerry and Clare, from Munster; Roscommon and Sligo, from Connacht; Derry and Cavan, from Ulster; and Laois and Westmeath, from Leinster.

The draw itself will take place on TV3 shortly after 6pm on Sunday, following their live coverage of the Leinster senior hurling final between Dublin and Kilkenny.

If a first replay is required the draw will go ahead as scheduled, but with the second round game affected postponed until the following Saturday.

The GAA has also finalised admission prices for all of this weekends first round qualifiers, with entry to the stands, like last year, costing €20, while admission to terraces has been reduced by €5 to €10.

A further effort to maintain the positive attendance figures for the remainder of the championship saw the GAA yesterday launch a new range of ticket packages to cover the closing stages of both the football and hurling championship.

Six deals – five of which are new – are being offered which are aimed at allowing followers of football and hurling to combine quarter-final and semi-final games. The Hurling Heaven, package priced at €90, includes tickets for one hurling quarter- final and two semi-finals. The Football Feast offers fans tickets for two football quarter-final days and both semi-finals, and costs €99. That works out at less than €25 per match and, on last years ticket prices, offers savings of €35 and €60 respectively.

Other offers include a quarter and semi-final package covering one quarter-final and a semi-final, costing €65, and a Dual Deal for the quarter-final and semi-final stages of both the football and hurling championships priced at €175.There are also Club Pass and Group Pass offers.

The packages were announced by GAA president Christy Cooney at the opening of the new Ticket Shop on Lower Dorset St in Dublin, close to Croke Park.

"We have been very happy with attendances at our games to date this year," said Cooney, "but we have said all along that in these challenging times we would continue to review our ticketing arrangements in an effort to offer our members and followers value for money . . .

"We have attempted to cater for different types of GAA supporters by offering combined football and hurling deals and a variety of options and we are confident followers of our games will take up deals that will provide excellent live entertainment at an affordable price."



03-Jul-09 by – Ian O Riordan