Eugene McGee's timetable, and The Great Train Robbery
The Football Review Committee has launched its website and there's a bit of a mystery over train prices in Munster. Line up here, GAA cranks, line up here.
It’s been a while in production but the Football Review Committee, chaired by former All-Ireland winning Offaly manager and newspaper and radio pundit Eugene McGee, has pushed the red “Live” button on its website, frc.ie.
Fed up with the sort of spectacle which Tyrone and Kerry dished up to us last weekend, and widespread dissatisfaction for the way virtually everything – ticket prices, club fixtures, referees’ eyes – works in the GAA, the Football Review Committee was appointed earlier this year to do something about it.
Or at least give some recommendations, which may or may not be ignored by the ultimate power-brokers.
It’s a decent starting point, although we suspect that everyone who has a gripe with the GAA – and that’s just about everyone within the GAA – will be dusting off their keyboards to have their say. There’s a 17-part survey, asking correspondents to rank their complaints with Gaelic football in the fields of playing, spectating and administration.
We reckon Part 17 is the one that will get lads really salivating, though. A big blank textbox with the seemingly innocent invitation to add “Any other comments”. Eugene McGee better have a few dedicated personal assistants, because it’s going to be some job sorting out that particular virtual postbox.
Incidentally, for full disclosure and all that, yours truly was one of the first in with a lengthy missive on the stuff that’s wrong with football. You have to be engaged, right?
When is a special offer not a special offer?
It was an agony aunt letter which could well have been signed “Concerned from Cork”. Fionn McCarthy, who actually signed his email “Rebels Abú”, is a Cork hurling supporter. No-one (sorry Fionn) does chips on both shoulders like Cork hurling supporters, so when it seemed that Limerick folk were getting a good deal and Cork folk weren’t, Fionn understandably wasn’t happy.
Fionn quotes a €16.50 return fare for people travelling from Limerick to Thurles for the All-Ireland quarter-finals on Sunday. We had a bit of a root around on the Irish Rail website and yep, the €16.50 return fare from Limerick was present and correct.
Ordinarily, a return from Limerick to Thurles is €14.99 each way, or €30 to you and me, so that looks like a great deal.
However, despite the headline of “Calling all Cork and Limerick Hurling Fans! Your County Needs YOU!!!”, the offers don’t seem quite so tempting for Cork fans, who will be paying €19.99 each way, or €39.98 all in for their return train trip to Semple.
Something seemed a bit off with this so we put in a call to Irish Rail’s Communications Department, who confirmed that these were the correct fares. That €19.99 each way fare from Cork is a reduced offer, we were told, while the €16.50 return from Limerick to Thurles was a special fare. Why the discrepancy? Well, as the distance from Limerick to Thurles isn’t very far, Irish Rail has felt the need to heavily incentivise the route to get passengers on board.
All of which might not be much consolation to Fionn McCarthy and the rest of the train-travelling Cork supporters this weekend. But still, we shouldn’t feel too sorry for them. Cork folk are going to be much richer than the rest of us very soon, what with all that oil they found off the coast this week...