Saturday 24 February 2018

Limerick locals on a mission to woo disgruntled Mayo fans for semi-final replay

Mayo manager James Horan and Kerry counterpart Eamonn Fitzmaurice after the drawn semi-final
Mayo manager James Horan and Kerry counterpart Eamonn Fitzmaurice after the drawn semi-final

Greg Harkin

THE people of Limerick have vowed to woo disgruntled Mayo fans on their trip to the city on Saturday, insisting many have already booked to stay in the city of culture for the weekend.

Mayor Michael Sheahan claimed that once the fans from the West have been to the city “they’ll want to come back for more.”

The Mayo county board had appealed against a GAA headquarters decision to stage the All-Ireland semi-final replay at the Gaelic Grounds this Saturday.

But with the game going ahead as planned, and a gay pride parade on the city, Gardai were last night drawing up a traffic and parking management plan to cope with the extra 50,000 GAA fans descending on the City of Culture.

“It won’t be a problem for us, sure we’re the sports capital of Ireland,” said Mayor Sheahan.

“It’s a very easy route in for Mayo fans, motorway from Galway, through the tunnel and they’ll be at the ground on the northside of the city.

“We are used to hosting big sporting events like the Heineken Cup and the Aussie Rules.

“We were a bit surprised at some of the comments to be honest but I’m certain Mayo fans will enjoy coming here. I’m hoping many of them will come into the city early and use our park and ride facilities.

“Those who are going straight to the game will be back out and on the road home again in 20 minutes.”

The Mayor admitted: “My only problem now is getting a ticket to go to the game myself. I’m a huge fan of gaelic games and it’s going to be a cracking game.”

Kerry’s green and gold flags and Mayo’s red and green bunting will be drowned out however in the city – by the rainbow flag of the Pride Parade.

That event is on at lunchtime – four hours before the match.

“There will be rainbow flags flying from the city's bridges on the way to the Gaelic Grounds so it's going to be a pretty busy Saturday in Limerick,” said Kerry Moran who runs the council’s website.

“It's Limerick Pride Week and the big Pride Parade is on Saturday so fans on the way to the match can expect full on colour, dance, music, street performance, theatrics and even a hot air balloon!”

The council has uploaded traffic and parking information on its website.

Limerick has 6,000 on and off street car parking spaces in Limerick. Added Kelly: "We are delighted to be welcoming both teams and the tens of thousands of fans set to visit Limerick this weekend.

“It was always going to be a hectic weekend in Limerick, even before the replay was announced and now we're sure the match will undoubtedly add to the fantastic atmosphere expected in the city.”

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