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GAA decided against higher Croke Park crowd capacity – with vaccinations required - because of ‘logistics’


GAA President Larry McCarthy. Picture: ©INPHO/Tom O'Hanlon

GAA President Larry McCarthy. Picture: ©INPHO/Tom O'Hanlon

GAA President Larry McCarthy. Picture: ©INPHO/Tom O'Hanlon

The GAA decided against a higher crowd capacity – with vaccinations required - into Croke Park because of logistical issues, according to GAA President Larry McCarthy.

More than 40,000 football fans will be allowed to attend Croke Park to watch the All-Ireland final, it has been confirmed last night.

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) said it will go ahead with the plan for 50pc capacity.

In a statement, the sporting body said "unrealistic logistical challenges" around processing Covid certificates on a match day has led to its decision.

Tyrone and Mayo will battle for the Sam Maguire cup on Saturday week.

Their decision was made despite the Government confirming an easing of restrictions on organised events, allowing outdoor events to run at 75pc of capacity for vaccinated individuals.

Where there is mixed immunity in large crowds, capacity is restricted to 50pc.

But GAA officials ruled out running the event at 75pc capacity for fully vaccinated fans.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, GAA President Larry McCarthy said it was “too onerous to get that amount of people into Croke Park in that short space of time”.

"You're not only checking the passport but you're checking a photo ID and a ticket… it would take maybe three minutes, if we were super competent maybe less, but the timing was too onerous, so we thought with all caution we should stay with the lower capacity.”

When asked if the vaccination requirements presented any difficulty with backroom staff and players, Mr McCarthy said; “Not really, I don’t think so.”

"We tried to maintain level of tickets to the participating counties which is normally 13,500 and this year it is just over 11,000, And you’ve to note the quality of the tickets, there are a lot more stand tickets.

"The cuts have come from the non-participating counties. For example, New York GAA normally get 100 tickets and this year they got 24, a 76pc reduction.

“We’re trying to sprinkle the gold dust around the participating counties."

When questioned on mask-wearing in Croke Park, Mr McCarthy said the health and safety precaution “has slipped”.

"It’s slipped is the best way of putting it. We constantly remind our patrons as much as possible to wear their masks.

"It’s not just mandatory, it’s highly recommended.

"We actually do have stewards and they will tap you on the shoulder and say ‘please wear your mask’,” he added.

Additional reporting: PA

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