Season Ticket Holders Entered Into Draw For 500 All Ireland Final Tickets
When the pandemic took hold last year, life as we knew it changed forever. Season tickets for the 2020 season were cancelled as were many matches. The 2021 season tickets were not renewed, as at the time, nobody knew if the league and championship would go ahead. Thankfully, things are beginning to improve and we are getting back to some sort of “normal”.
As matches were allowed to be played, firstly, behind closed doors and then with limited numbers of spectators, the 2021 league and championship went ahead in a much changed format.
When Mayo beat Dublin in the All Ireland semi final and qualified for the All Ireland final yet again, the issue of tickets or more precisely the lack of tickets began to pose a problem. The All Ireland final, due to public health restrictions, could only be played in front of 40,000 spectators. A much reduced number from the maximum capacity of Croke Parks 82,300 stadium.
Cork and Limerick were meeting in the Hurling final and they faced the same predicament with reduced capacity. However, Cork decided to give the option to purchase a hurling final ticket, to both their hurling and football season ticket holders, “as a goodwill gesture”. Between hurling and football, Cork have just over 1000 season ticket holders, so it was a little easier for the Cork county board to offer their season ticket holders the option to purchase a final ticket. This set a precedent.
Initially Mayo county board said it would not be possible to accommodate Mayo season ticket holders in any way. Dermot Butler, speaking to the Mayo News stated, “There will be no Cairde Mhaigheo ticket allocation for the final” and went on to say “its not our decision, that whole season ticket decision was made by Croke Park at the beginning of the season”.
We got in touch with the Tommy Marren show on Midwest radio to highlight the situation and to see if anything could be done. There was a huge response from Mayo season ticket holders. Everyone knew it was a very difficult situation for all sides, but loyal season ticket holders just couldn’t be brushed aside so easily. Something needed to be done.
Hundreds of texts and emails were sent into the Tommy Marren show from Mayo season ticket holders. Below is a sample of some of them, which Tommy read out.
Mayo GAA were to get back to Midwest when they had been in touch with Croke Park to see if anything could be done. We were hopeful that the 40K capacity might be raised and that would have benefited everyone.
On Friday the 27th of August Croke Park announced that they are making 500 tickets available for season ticket holders through a draw. Juvenile ticket holders will not be included in this draw. This means out of the 3622 Mayo season tickets approximately 3000 will be eligible for the draw.
The random draw will be conducted by officials in Croke Park via the season ticket database and is expected to be completed by next Wednesday, September 1. Those season ticket holders who are successful in securing the option of a ticket will be communicated with by email.
Mayo GAA Secretary Dermot Butler speaking to Midwest radio about the draw.
A statement from Mayo GAA announcing the draw said that it would be impossible to allocate all Season Ticket holders a ticket for the final as this would “reduce the current club allocations by another 55% on top of the reductions enforced by the reduced capacity.”
“Mayo GAA do recognise and appreciate the scale of support within the Season Ticket group. While the current public health situation has made it very difficult to accommodate all fans wishing to attend the All-Ireland Final, we are making every effort to spread the base of support to all who have supported Mayo in huge numbers over the years.”
Under the circumstances this is the best outcome that could be expected. While not perfect, we have to accept that everyone cannot be accommodated with tickets for the final. At least 1 in 6 season ticket holders will be in with a chance of getting an All Ireland Final ticket.
If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a golden ticket, you can check out the Croke Park seating plan here.