The county’s opening round fixture in this year’s Connacht Championship – against New York over in Gaelic Park – is now little more than three weeks away and so supporters’ thoughts are starting to turn to this game, especially those heading across the Atlantic for the occasion.
I’m staying put here myself that weekend – as it’s my son’s football Féile weekend with his team up here in Dublin then – but thousands are, I know, planning to get to New York for the game. The large numbers who are going over has, understandably, given rise to concerns about getting into the match, not least given the small capacity at Gaelic Park, which is reportedly limited to around 4,500.
Mike Finnerty has a good piece, though, in this week’s Mayo News (here), which expands a bit more on the ticket issue. In it, he explains that clubs within the county are expected to get in the region of ten tickets each for distribution. On top of this, a small number of tickets will be on sale, on a first-come-first-served basis, at the ground on the morning of the game.
Mike expands on this issue in the latest episode of the Mayo News football podcast, which, if you haven’t listened to it yet, is worth doing (it’s here). On the podcast, Mike says that, based on conversations he’s had, there seems to be a bit more optimism about supporters’ ability to get into the game. Mike says his sources tell him that the “the vast majority” of those heading over to America for the game should be able to get into Gaelic Park.
This, he says, is because some work is being done on the ground ahead of the match, which should have the effect of raising the capacity somewhat. Mike quotes Connacht Council Secretary, John Prenty, who reckons that 90% of those who want to go to the game should be able to get a ticket for it.
Mike cautions, however, that John Prenty went on to say that punters shouldn’t be expecting a Lower Cusack Section 308 kind of experience for this fixture. If you get inside the gate on the day at all, you’ll be doing well.
Key to getting in will, of course, be to get to Gaelic Park early that morning. The main match throws in at 2.15pm local time that day (that’s 7.15pm over here) but the gates open that morning at 8.30am. That’s the kind of time – or earlier – you’d need to be thinking about getting to the ground if you’re to be sure of making it inside.
So, in the city that never sleeps, an early start that morning will be vital for all Mayo supporters if they’re to catch the county’s opening match in this year’s Championship.