Game Over Ball Burst: Fans learn that Pro14 is not the real deal

Donn O'Sullivan


Donn O'Sullivan


Game Over Ball Burst : Fans learn that Pro14 is not the real deal

Chris Farrell in action for Munster against Cardiff

THERE were 13,558 tickets sold for last weekend's Munster clash with Cardiff at Thomond Park.

The Pro14 tie saw Munster rack up a bonus point win against their Celtic cousins with relative ease.

The biggest news to come out of the day was not on the field. The figure given at the top of this piece was for ticket sales. The estimated number of people who turned up was 8,200.

That means that 40% of the people who had tickets for the game, be they part of season ticket packages or not, did not go to the game.

Why? You may ask. Well, there are several factors.

The weather was good, so families might have decided to go away for the weekend. The 1.30pm kick off does not really suit people who have other Saturday morning activities or may not suit those that travel long distances to Limerick.

The issue for me is that fans are slowly realising that the Pro14 is not the ‘bread and butter’ that they are led to believe it is.

Take this weekend for example. The language being used by the Munster and Leinster players ahead of their derby game is that the clash at the Aviva is the perfect preparation for next weekend's Champions Cup opener. A warm up if you will.

So, the game this weekend, which both sets of fans would have bitten your hand off for a ticket some seasons ago, is now no more than a warm up for another competition.

The hard working fans have been bitten more than once in recent years when it comes to this tie. Particularly the annual Christmas meeting where fans have sold out venues only to see the entire Irish international contingent, on both sides, rested ahead of the Six Nations.

When clubs wonder why fans are not buying tickets for the game this weekend they might want to look at the message being delivered.

Should you tell someone that this weekend is only a preparation for Europe, then you cannot blame the fans for doing the very same. If you can, as a fan, only go to one game, then Europe it is.