SEMPLE Stadium officials held their hands up to some mistakes that contributed to the lengthy queues that disrupted the start of last weekend's Allianz Hurling League semi-finals.
But they said the public had caused most of the problems themselves by not pre-buying tickets for the match as they had been advised.
It was Croke Park who decided that admission to the stands for last Sunday's double-header would be ticket-only to see Clare take on Kilkenny and Tipp's clash with Cork.
There were plenty of stiles open on both sides of the ground, but it was at the ticket booths, in three separate areas outside the pitch, that the long queues formed and frustrated supporters.
These bottlenecks caused such a problem that the throw-in for the first game was delayed by 15 minutes; the start of the second game was similarly delayed.
The crowd of 15,424 was well below capacity, but Tipperary secretary Tim Floyd confirmed yesterday that the pre-match queues were so bad that, 15 minutes before the original 2.0 throw-in, the organisers contemplated abandoning the ticketing system and just taking cash at the stiles.
But they decided against this on the basis that this would have caused even greater chaos inside the stands.
Floyd said they had an adequate number of ticket machines in operation -- there were 20 and several more as back-up -- but the problem was caused because so many people arrived at the same time and without tickets.
"We took out radio advertisements ourselves in Tipperary and so did Croke Park," he said. "We repeatedly advised people all week to buy their tickets in advance, but only 2,500 were pre-sold and that was a large part of the problem.
"Between Monday to Friday we only sold 250 ourselves in Tipperary. It wasn't that people arrived late but that so many of them arrived at the same time and without tickets."
Floyd revealed that 6,500 tickets were sold between 1.0 and 2.0. Only another 2,000 tickets were sold afterwards, and the queues had cleared by 2.30.
"Selling 6,000 tickets in an hour is above the average for Croke Park even," Floyd said.
"Normally, for a double-header, people would filter in over the two games but, probably because Kilkenny were involved in the first game, a lot of people came to see both matches and unfortunately they all arrived together."
He said the organisers had made some mistakes themselves and would learn from them.
"We were overpowered by the amount of people who turned up at one time and there are a few areas we could tidy up on," he admitted.
"We could probably have directed people a bit better on the day and will look at how we can improve that, especially on the approach roads and outside the ground."
He said they will also look at the feasibility of putting ticket booths elsewhere in the town, possibly even at the train station, on big match days.
Tickets were on sale at two supermarket chains in Tipperary last week and even that didn't help. That commercial sales vehicle is one the GAA is hoping to maximise in a new championship marketing campaign.
Floyd argued that it made sense to make such games ticketed.
"Two years ago, when we were forced to call off our league game with Kilkenny because of snow, people complained that they had no tickets or receipts to claim with," he said.
"Ticketing is designed to avoid that but, unless it's the championship, people seem to have a problem accepting buying tickets in advance."
Season-ticket holders usually get in with their pass (a smart card) but they had been sent an additional paper ticket, via email, to print and bring with them. Some season-ticket holders in attendance on Sunday added to the delays by not having these.
Croke Park will be posting letters to all season-ticket holders in the coming weeks stressing the need for them to follow instructions properly.
Admission to the terrace was by cash last weekend but many of those who had paid into it for the opening game (Kilkenny/Clare) ended up in the stand.
They were hit by a ferocious hailstorm during the early stages of the game and when a gate was opened for a TG4 cameraman, most of those on the terrace stormed through it and ran for cover into the stand, where they were allowed to stay.