Title-chasing Rovers fans on the ticket trail as Wanderers consult gardai
OFFICIALS of Bray Wanderers will meet with gardai today to confirm how many tickets they can sell for the visit of title-chasing Shamrock Rovers to the Carlisle Grounds this Friday night.
Michael O'Neill's Hoops will secure their first top-tier title since 1994 with a victory -- and a draw would be enough as well, unless Bohemians score a five-goal victory over Dundalk.
There is huge demand for tickets among Rovers supporters, and a security meeting will determine how many will be allowed into the venue.
However, Bray general manager Jack O'Neill said yesterday that he expects the attendance to be restricted to 3,000, which will leave some Hoops fans disappointed.
The Seagulls have considered installing a temporary stand for the game to meet demand, but realistically concede that the time factor and the logistics involved are against them in that regard.
Rovers have officially received in the region of 1,500 tickets to dispense to their members and season ticket holders, but their fans have also been buying tickets directly from Bray.
Gardai will advise that supporters without tickets do not travel to the seaside town.
The visit of Rovers is a timely financial boost for Bray, and O'Neill acknowledges that many more tickets could be sold. Yet they can allow in only 3,000 punters for health and safety reasons, with gardai conscious of congestion issues after a wall at the Carlisle Grounds collapsed when Rovers visited a year ago.
The league leaders will also be under extra scrutiny following disturbances during a pitch invasion after last Tuesday's FAI Cup win over St Patrick's Athletic, and although no difficulties of that nature are anticipated this week, the ground is set to be dominated by Rovers followers.
Meanwhile, the Hoops' FAI Cup final opponents, Sligo Rovers, have appointed ex-UCD and St Patrick's Athletic defender Packie Lynch as their general manager.
Lynch has left a post with the Bank of Scotland to take up the role, and is tasked with using his business background to develop a long-term strategy for the club.
"It will be my responsibility to take the club to the next level of performance in every respect and to provide a clear road map to ensure the potential of the club is fully realised," said Lynch.
He arrives at a busy time as the November 14 Aviva Stadium showdown looms over the horizon. A healthy attendance is expected for the final, with both clubs boosted by the FAI's decision to price tickets at €10 for adults and €5 for U-16s.