RISING TO THE CHALLENGE This young Mayo fan cheered on an important score during the Super 8 victory over Donegal on Saturday evening in MacHale Park, Castlebar. Pic: Conor McKeown
MAYO’S loyal supporters have been urged to do what they can to get to Croke Park on Saturday for the county’s All-Ireland football semi-final clash with five-in-a-row chasing Dublin.
Dublin fans are expected to outnumber Mayo’s for the sixth championship clash between the county’s in six years,but Mayo GAA Board PRO Paul Cunnane issued a call to arms to Green and Red supporters last night (Monday).
“We saw on Saturday what the incredible Mayo supporters were like and what it meant to the team. After the game the players were commenting on the atmosphere and the support and how it drove them on,” Cunnane told The Mayo News.
“If we could get support like that on Saturday it would be a huge help. The colour and flags fans brought to Castlebar last was brilliant too. We’d appeal for fans to do what they can to get to the game, throw their weight behind the team as usual, and help the players get over the line.”
Saturday’s senior semi-final throws in at 5pm and is preceded by the All-Ireland Minor (Under 17) semi-final at 3pm with Mayo taking on Cork.
“With the Minors playing beforehand, we’d appeal to Mayo fans to get in early and get behind them as well,” said Cunnane.
He asked fans to try and get tickets from Centra and Super Valu stores or online today (Tuesday). Tickets went on sale this morning.
“There is huge interest already, demand is very high. The ‘Bring a Friend’ option with the Season Tickets sold out within three hours today (Monday).
“We’d urge fans to try to buy their tickets online or in Super Valu and Centra stores. We’d ask fans to try and get their tickets there as soon as possible and ease the burden as much as possible on the clubs,” said Cunnane.
Connacht GAA Secretary John Prenty, who is also a member of the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee, estimates a crowd of 60,000 to 65,000 on Saturday with Mayo fans making up ‘somewhere in the region of 20,000 to 25,000’.
He said last Saturday night’s famous win over Donegal in Castlebar went off well from a logistics point of view. The game sold out with capacity capped just over 27,000.
“Saturday evening worked great. There were no flashpoints. The panic for the tickets did die down. Most people seem to have got sorted,” Prenty told The Mayo News.
There was live music on Saturday before the game, organised by Michael Commins of The Mayo News. Davy Carton of The Saw Doctors, Donegal band Goats Don’t Shave and Frank McCaffrey all performed.
Fans were queuing to get into the ground almost four hours before throw-in.
“The music on was a big help. It enabled us to get the crowd in a bit earlier and entertain them. It probably allowed us get the capacity up to 27,000,” said Prenty.
He said the capacity of the ground could be 31,000 for an all-ticket game with reserved seating in the main stand. However, as Saturday’s game was unreserved seating, the maximum capacity was just over 27,000.