One of the reasons I’m really looking forward to Sunday is because it means getting to go to a match at Fitzgerald Stadium, something I’ve never managed to do up until now. I knocked Breffni Park – another fine GAA ground – off my to-visit list earlier in the summer and it’ll be great to do the same with the iconic Killarney venue this weekend.
It’s already beyond doubt that a huge Mayo crowd is planning on migrating south at the weekend for this one. With assorted Kerry legends taking to social media and the like to coax their own supporters to grace a home Championship game with their presence, it’s fair to assume that there’ll be a large Kerry following there too.
All of which makes this piece by Eoghan Cormican in today’s Irish Examiner rather relevant, as it confirms that the capacity at Fitzgerald Stadium has been cut by 6,000 for this game. A rather abstruse health and safety-related argument has been advanced for this decision, which appears to be based on the need to allow free movement of punters around the stadium on match day.
The root cause – which, to be fair, is understandable – is that, as is often the case where we’re involved, not all season ticket holders are capable of being accommodated in the 7,500 capacity stand. In light of this, it’s been decided – again, sensibly – to make all tickets general admission with those turning up early (on past evidence, that’s us lot) getting the stand tickets.
Once the stand is full, goes the reasoning, the turnstiles there will need to closed and that’s when all the milling around is likely to happen as punters who fail to get into the stand are redirected to the terrace entrances. The health and safety pointy-heads have, in their wisdom, decided that a 6,000 capacity cull is needed to ensure ease of movement while all this shoving and shunting to get in is going on.
The upshot of this decision is that the generous 38,000 capacity – which would be more than enough to cater for all-comers – has been cut to 31,900 for Sunday. In that piece above, Kerry County Board Chairman Tim Murphy rather breezily contends this should be okay. He says:
I think the capacity of 31,900 will be adequate. We are expecting a crowd of somewhere around 30,000.
The operative words there being “thinking”, “expecting”, “somewhere” and “around”. Let’s hope you’re right, Tim.
So – two things to bear in mind arising from the above. One, get your tickets sorted pronto for Sunday if you haven’t yet done so. Two, get to the ground as early as you can on the day. But, then, you knew all this already – didn’t you?