Loyalty not rewarded at finals

Loyal Kilkenny fans who are GAA Season Tickets holders didn’t get the deal they thought they signed up to at All-Ireland final time.

Loyal Kilkenny fans who are GAA Season Tickets holders didn’t get the deal they thought they signed up to at All-Ireland final time.

The quality of tickets for the big hurling showdown and replay against Tipperary fell far short of what was expected, Kilkenny County Board was told.

“The Season Tickets are great value, but people thought you were rewarded with reasonable tickets for the All-Ireland final,” Paddy Butler told Monday night’s meeting.

Mr Butler, a dedicated volunteer in the ’Association and a Season Ticket holder, found himself seated in section 310 of the Cusack Stand.

This is around the ‘14’ at the Davin Stand end of Croke Park and is far from the centre row sections between 304 and 308 that many Season Tickets holders felt was part of the package.

The sad news for such fans is that things might not improve in the future if Kilkenny qualify for the All-Ireland final.

Big numbers

Apparently the Season Ticket offer proved to be hugely attractive in both Kilkenny and Tipperary, who have bigger numbers involved compared to most other counties.

There are currently 1,300 Season Ticket holders in this county, a figure which shot up from a modest 300 in 2010.

The strong membership worked against followers from both counties, because there just weren’t enough centre area tickets to go round when it came to what was a hugely attractive decider.

Unless there is a fall off in membership in both counties, the same situation would occur again if the counties clashed in the future, it was suggested to delegates.

People were given some hope, however. If there is a final between Kilkenny and Galway, for example, Noreside Season Tickets holders might do well because there hasn’t been a huge take up of the offer in the West.

Get on to Croker

“The Kilkenny Board expressed its disappointment, but there is not an awful lot we can do,” County Board chairman, Ned Quinn explained.

The contract is between the purchaser of the tickets and Croke Park, and as such is a private agreement.

“All enquiries to Croke Park,” was more or less the message.

Meanwhile, the O’Loughlin Road side of the grounds at Nowlan Park will be closed for a number of weeks while work progresses on the erection of the new roof on the stand.

Both sections of the terracing and the stand area will be off limits to patrons for a while. It is not known at the moment if the work will be completed before the senior hurling final on October 16.

The contractors are working hard to complete the job as speedily as possible, and good progress has been made.

The roof was ripped off the stand during the violent Storm Darwin last Winter. Not having a roof made no real difference during the good Summer, but things have changed now.

The capacity of Nowlan Park will be down to around 20,000 which should be more than adequate to cater for the county final crowd, whatever the pairing.

The draws for the junior hurling championship semi-finals were made at the ’Board meeting. They are - Galmoy v Bennettsbridge; Mooncoin v James Stephens or O’Loughlin Gaels.

The latter back match will be played on Sunday evening under lights in Ballyragget. The semi-finals will be played the following weekend.