LEINSTER GAA chiefs have urged fans to avail of their "super value" ticket deals and buy early, thereby preventing the ticket chaos that prevailed in Mullingar last Sunday.
The throw-in for the SFC opener between Westmeath and Carlow was delayed by 10 minutes due to safety issues, as Cusack Park attempted to deal with a huge queue for tickets outside the ground.
As it transpired, the official attendance was given as just 3,080 – which begs the question why such a delay was required.
But Leinster Council chairman Martin Skelly has insisted there were sufficient ticket outlets and "more than enough" turnstiles open, but they had been "swamped" by too many ticketless fans turning up far too close to the appointed throw-in time.
"The reality is everybody just turned up at the last minute," Skelly outlined. "When everybody comes at 3.20 (for a 3.30 throw-in) and matches are all-ticket, you cannot then decide at 3.25, 'Let's take cash'. You can't do that. We don't want people turning up and left frustrated by not being able to get in. Championship matches are all-ticket. So what we are saying is, come along if you decide on the day – but make an allowance that you have to buy a ticket."
For those fans who always intend travelling to a particular match, Skelly has championed a much cheaper alternative – buy your ticket midweek and through your local GAA club, and you can save up to 50pc in the process.
For example, terrace admission to Sunday's Leinster SFC clash between Wicklow and Longford in Aughrim is €10 – but you can purchase in advance, through your club, for €5. For the following Saturday's football double-header at Croke Park – featuring Kildare/Offaly and Dublin/Westmeath – a seat will cost you €25 but you can buy one through your club for €15 (ie, the same price as a Hill 16 terrace ticket).
"We are urging people to first of all come and, two, come on time. But really they should take the super value on offer."