Wednesday 15 August 2018

'Shambles' - hurling clubs' fury over sale of tickets for Galway-Clare replay in Thurles

28 July 2018; David McInerney of Clare throws his hurl to block the shot from David Burke of Galway during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Galway and Clare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
28 July 2018; David McInerney of Clare throws his hurl to block the shot from David Burke of Galway during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Galway and Clare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Limerick’s Nicky Quaid and Sean Finn compete with Seamus Harnedy of Cork in Croke Park last Sunday. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Ian Begley

Hurling clubs in Clare and Galway have slammed GAA bosses for "making a shambles" of the ticket sales for Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final replay.

There was anger and frustration in both counties when it emerged tickets would not be distributed through clubs because of the short turnaround.

The Irish Independent spoke to several chairmen from Clare and Galway clubs who largely felt the GAA had turned its back on committed supporters.

"The GAA have a very short-minded way of thinking," said Tom Shiel of Tulloughmore GAA in Galway.

"The tickets went on sale at 11.30am, but two hours later they were all sold out. An awful lot of people either lost out getting them online or spent hours queuing outside shops.

"The whole set-up hasn't been properly talked through, which has resulted in every club in Clare and Galway feeling hard done by," he said.

Gerry Rabbitt, chairperson of Oranmore/Maree GAA said his club were offered just 50 tickets for the game.

"What good is 50 tickets at all? We could easily do with 500," he said.

"They will go to our most ardent supporters who would go to every game, but to be honest it shouldn't be this way at all.

"It's just not fair on our members, especially those who couldn't get online in time. They made a shambles of it.

"I think the match should definitely be played on Monday instead. The players have been through so much already and would benefit them so much having an extra day to recover."

In Clare, chairman of The Banner GAA club, Conall McNulty, said the way in which the tickets were sold caused widespread confusion.

"Prior to the official announcement, none of us knew how the tickets were going to be sold. There was talk that they were going to be distributed to the clubs and rumours about them only being sold online," he said.

"When we got the word at 10.30am, I immediately sent a text to all our members. When I tried to get my own tickets, the site said I was the 4,995th person in the queue.

"Thankfully, there's a Centra close to me so I drove there and purchased them no problem. I feel very sorry for the many supporters who weren't so lucky," he said.

Nightmare

However, not every hurling club was disappointed with the way the tickets were sold.

An anonymous chairman from a Clare-based club told the Irish Independent he was "delighted" with the arrangement: "It would have been a logistical nightmare for our club trying to sort out and allocate tickets in such a short space of time

In response to the controversy, a spokesperson for the GAA said: "Given the six-day turnaround the decision was taken by Clare and Galway, with the Croke Park ticket office, to distribute the tickets online and through our retail network. Galway already had a football game on Saturday to facilitate and it was thought unreasonable to overburden club and county officials."

They added matches aren't held on bank holidays due to traffic volumes and it's not a public holiday in the North.

Irish Independent

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