Munster lay final chaos blame at fans' feet despite apology
THE Munster Council has apologised for the chaotic scenes at Semple Stadium before the minor hurling championship final replay between Limerick and Waterford on Tuesday evening, when fans streamed across the pitch shortly before the throw-in.
The Council also acknowledged that there had been inadequate stewarding in place to cope with the problem and promised to review arrangements for future fixtures.
The throw-in was put back by 10 minutes to allow the crowd to gain access but, as the teams were getting ready for the start, a large number of people crossed over from the New Stand to the Kinane Stand. In a statement yesterday, the Munster Council said that they had planned for an attendance of between 5,000 and 6,000 but the turn-out reached 6,532.
"As with all fixtures of this nature, the only side of the ground that was opened was the New Stand. It has a capacity of 10,000, which was more than adequate to cater for the numbers that attended," they said.
"As a large number of people came to the ground with 15 minutes to go to throw-in, we took the decision to postpone the throw-in for 10 minutes in order to allow everyone safe entry to the ground. We are satisfied that this was the correct decision and are satisfied that queues had dissipated at 7.35pm. This was actively monitored by Council officials.
"Regarding the fans who walked across the pitch from the New Stand to the Kinane Stand, we regret any inconvenience caused to the participating teams in their preparations for the game and we will be reviewing the matter with Semple Stadium.
"We regret that a minority of fans took the decision to leave the New Stand, which had ample room to accommodate all patrons."
Semple Stadium has a good record in hosting events but, on Tuesday, some patrons decided to cross the pitch to get a better vantage point from the other stand.
Croke Park officials will be in touch with Semple Stadium to ensure everything is in order for Sunday's All-Ireland hurling quarter-final double header, which should attract up to 40,000 fans.