Yes it’s all about money, surprise, surprise.
The little people don’t matter once again it seems. Housebound and elderly people, urban and rural, who long for the summer days to watch the matches. Young families too, urban and rural struggling financially and attempting to keep young people out of pubs – what options? Concession prices mean very little when travelling expenses, refreshments, and programmes are factored in.
I am a lifelong sports enthusiast and GAA supporter, certainly from another era. I remember cycling from Fethard to Thurles, parking my un-locked bicycle to see Tipp meet our great rivals Cork in breathtaking Munster finals. Today, when Tipp are not playing I am an ardent Dub Supporter and my younger Dub work colleagues accompany me to Croke Park if we are lucky enough to get a ticket.
The church, the banks and the politicians have all let us down – now the GAA, once a real model of community involvement, active citizenship and social inclusion. I am sure there were very few women involved in this money making decision, they are far too busy washing and cleaning kits, consoling or celebrating our young players at local level.
These young people, all with dreams of playing for their county - our unpaid stars their icons. What does this decision say to them?
While not wishing to deny our many citizens forced to emigrate for work the chance to view some matches, I wonder if we can now expect to see more celebrities than ever, some not even knowing what a sliotar is, occupying the much sought after seats in Croke Park, in full camera view to show how progressive a nation we have become!!