Damien Comer is all over the media today bragging about how Galway can win the All-Ireland (piece in the Irish Times is here), Alan Dillon was on the Mayo News football podcast last week (which, if you haven’t yet listened to it, is here) saying we’ll definitely be ready for the Tribesmen this year. The jungle drums are beating ever louder, with less than three weeks to go now to the most eagerly awaited Mayo/Galway Connacht championship clash in years.
Good timing, then, for ticketing details to be released, with Connacht GAA making an announcement (here) about this yesterday. These aren’t the full details – there’s no mention, for example, of arrangements for season ticket holders but, no doubt, Mayo GAA will provide that information before too long.
Anyone who isn’t a season ticket holder and plans to go to the game wouldn’t want to delay too long. The Mayo News (paper and digital variants) is reporting this morning that the number of tickets going on general release will be limited and that tickets for the match are expected to sell out.
It’s been a long time since MacHale Park was packed to the rafters for a Connacht championship match. There was, according to the match report in the Irish Independent the day after, a paying crowd of 34,613 crammed into the venue for the 2006 Connacht decider against Galway. I was there that day and it really was jammers, as it also was two years before that for the final against Roscommon.
Since then I don’t ever remember an attendance coming even close to those kinds of numbers. The Connacht decider of 2014 between the counties drew a crowd of 26,738 and there were fewer than that there at the Castlebar venue the evening the neighbours ended our long spell of dominance within the province two years after that.
With the capacity apparently now capped at around 30,000 – despite the fact that you could easily squeeze another 5,000 in, though no doubt you’d have the Health and Safety police out with their clipboards and their serious faces if that happened – this appears to be one of those rare occasions when the demand for tickets in a Connacht championship tie will outstrip supply. Don’t say you haven’t been told.