Wexford People

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Season ticket surge will be guaranteed around these parts


Alan Aherne

Alan Aherne

Alan Aherne

Ordinarily, this column should be concentrating on what might happen between the white lines in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday evening.

However, after the events of last week, it's clear that many keen followers of hurling in the county will be very much on the outside looking in, without any chance of obtaining a precious ticket for the most anticipated championship clash with our neighbours for many years.

First and foremost, let's state the obvious: supply was never going to meet demand for this fixture, particularly after the outcome when the sides met in Nowlan Park and the fact that Davy Fitzgerald has the team on a roll.

Innovate Wexford Park has a limited capacity which isn't set by the County Board, and it has undergone numerous inspections to ensure that all healthy and safety requirements are met for what will be the biggest crowd at the venue since its re-opening in 2001.

However, our own Board is fully responsible for how it decides to distribute its ticket allocation, and this is where the major issue lies.

I attended a fair for programme collectors in Turloughmore, Co. Galway, on Saturday and met a good friend who is actively involved with his club in Kilkenny.

He told me their Board had given them 20 stand tickets, a combination of the covered and uncovered sides of the ground, and a lot more of the latter than the former.

We agreed that it wasn't a lot, but at least his club - and all others in Kilkenny - had some chance to look after the people who keep things ticking over for them on a daily basis.

The ticketing landscape has changed immeasurably in recent years, given that it's now possible to make purchases in some supermarkets and via certain websites.

In my opinion though, that's all the more reason why the County Board should have worked hand in hand with the 49 clubs. If there's less tickets available in the first place, then every effort should have been made to facilitate club members as much as possible, even if the numbers available to distribute were minimal.

One thing's for sure: there will be a huge surge in the purchase of those national, county-specific, season tickets by Wexford folk next Christmas.

There was a very low take-up on those, certainly in comparison to Kilkenny, but the difference is that our neighbours expect to have lengthy championship runs every year and therefore have this situation well sussed by now.

These problems only arise when a team starts to build momentum, and that's very much the case as the Wexford bandwagon is moving steadily again.

Unfortunately, I don't know what level of debate - if any - there was on the distribution of tickets at recent County Board meetings since we are no longer welcome to attend.

That also means, of course, that when the issue comes up at the next gathering, there will be no member of the media present to record the comments made.

Perhaps the clubs need to ask themselves if that's the best way of going about their business. Would the matter of accountability be better addressed by having reporters present?

And while I'm on the subject of P.R., it should be noted that none of the three different County Board officers contacted by two different members of our staff responded to calls last week.

I believe some of the anger would have been assuaged if a press release had been issued outlining the facts and figures of the matter.

For example, when one subtracts the number of season ticket holders entitled to attend (mainly from Kilkenny) from the stand capacity, it left a miniscule number left. I think if the facts had been compiled and presented, at the very least there would have been a better understanding of the difficulties faced by the County Board.

One final word on the press ban: we were informed in January, in writing, that 'Wexford GAA will issue a bulletin as soon as possible after every Management and County Board meeting' to the media.

The last one sent to me was for a meeting held on April 25. Clearly their idea of 'as soon as possible' leaves a lot to be desired.

Wexford People