I can’t be alone in thinking he’d make an ideal GAA/GPA envoy to those hard-to-reach hurling regions, but if Tony Browne is contemplating a post-playing career in politics, John Mullane could teach him a thing or two about how to catch votes.
The Déise sharpshooter used last week’s Puma sportswear photocall in Dublin to blast the GAA with both barrels over its “crazy” ticket prices and “ridiculous” fixture-making.
For starters the two-time All Star thinks dragging out Waterford’s Munster semi-final against Clare ’til bank holiday Monday to suit RTÉ’s schedule is “absolutely ridiculous”.
There’s also the timing of this Wednesday’s provincial U21 opener down in Cork, which hopefully won’t leave the Waterford seniors, who’ve 8-9 players involved with Shane Aherne’s panel, nursing any injuries.
As for the “absolutely crazy” ticket prices, which will cost the county’s diehard ‘dual’ fans doubly dear this weekend, what with Sunday’s keenly-anticipated Munster football semi against Limerick in Dungarvan, the De La Salle talisman reckons cash-strapped families are being forgotten about.
Responding to his comments, GAA spokesman Alan Milton countered that there hasn’t been a ticket price increase in four years, and that the downturn didn’t kick in until 2008. “Things are tough now and they were last year too, but not only did our attendance figures hold steady in 2009, they actually increased by 4,000 on ’08, so there are obviously a lot of people who don’t agree with John,” Milton argued.
I doubt it, and I wouldn’t be getting cocky considering the GAA can’t even fill ‘The Park’ for an Old Firm Munster hurling clash (which you wouldn’t even know was on if you landed on Planet Nama last week looking for a bit of culture). And what’s to boast about freezing prices anyway? Big deal. Most people’s wages/hours have been cut, and God knows how many GAA fans – and indeed inter-county players – have lost their jobs since the property penny dropped with brainy Brian and the rest of the Anglo Irish Bank backers. In a recession things recede.