A salient truth observed by Irish Indo GAA scribe Martin Breheny in his Monday column. Commenting on the crowd of just 4,144 that turned up at a sultry Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the previous afternoon’s strangely subdued then suddenly stirring National Hurling League tie between the hosts and winners Waterford, Breheny raised the question “as to where the 10,000 who took to the streets in support of the striking players were.

“Clearly, most of them are more interested in empty gestures than actually supporting the team in the conventional way.” Heaven forbid the hammering by Kilkenny had anything to do with it.

The reality, however, is that the GAA is going to have to rethink ticket prices if they’re to avoid a serious recession as far as attendances are concerned at this summer’s championships. They’ve already reduced NFL final admission rates. An emergency Croke Park budget may be prudent, ‘without or without’ U2’s July double-header. 

Mind games

It’s been mentioned several more times in the past week that Chelsea ‘keeper Petr Cech’s crisis of confidence is a long-term consequence of his clash with Stephen Hunt in the autumn of 2006.

The one-time world’s best No1 certainly looks a shadow of his former self, still wearing the skull cap doctors recommended as a temporary protective measure after undergoing surgery on a fractured cranium.

Cech, whose alarmingly-permissive form could have Stamford Bridge supporters pining for the days of Ed De Gouy, or God forbid Mark Bosnich (a genuine headcase) insists his hard hat is not an issue, though like many uninformed observers I’ve yet to be convinced that it isn’t literally playing on his mind.