Empty terraces and Saffron U-turns
Fabulous entertainment in front of a small crowd at Semple and comings and goings at Antrim and Fermanagh.
Not enough make the trip to Tipp
GAA attendances are an old reliable. When the country was booming it was a story anytime Croke Park didn’t sell out and now that we are watching the pennies, low turnout is an even bigger topic of discussion.
Yesterday, in Thurles, the Munster semi-final between Waterford and Clare took place. That alone should have been able to draw a crowd but add in the presence of one Mr David Fitzgerald on the sideline in a Clare bainisteoir bib and it should have been a must for any hurling fan in that neck of the woods.
Instead, just over 12,000 went through the Semple turnstiles - 12,296 to be precise - a paltry number for the game of the hurling Championship so far. The Munster council chief Sean Walsh had hoped for a crowd of between 13,000 and 15,000.
The crowd yesterday was up 1,000 on the audience that watched the last game between the two sides at Semple in 2010 but it is still a low number for a match that should draw crowds from more than just the competing counties. The fact it was on live television, as well as other competing attractions on the day, may have had an effect but ticket prices are surely the chief reason.
A full house would have added even more to a pulsating game. We wonder why a flat low rate isn’t tried out for one of these games, just to see what happens. A low enough attendance was expected by all so why not offer tickets for €5 for the terrace and try and get that filled too?
As one famous Munster man once said, trying the same thing over and over again end expecting a different result is the very definition of madness.
I step out, you step in again
Managerial merry-go-rounds are nothing new, in the GAA and beyond. But a manager stepping down after a row with RTE, before coming back in as a selector is a bit strange. Jerry Wallace’s exit from the Antrim hurling job was one of the oddest we can remember, with accusations of phone calls to analysts and statements flying back and forth like, well, like a really good game of hurling.
Anyway, now it seems Wallace is back in the Saffron fold. He was spotted at a challenge match between Wexford and Antrim at the weekend and he is now a selector, with Jim Nelson remaining as manager.
We hope he’s back for good, as hurling outposts like Antrim need all their energies focused on improving, not stuff like this.
Meanwhile it has also been confirmed that Fermanagh’s star forward, Seamus Quigley, has left the panel. It had been rumoured or a while that he was not going to be involved any longer and Peter Canavan’s side must now face Cavan without their top scorer in the league.
It doesn’t sound like there is any hope of a Wallace-like return either. Advantage Cavan.