THE hunt for match tickets looks set to continue to dominate the build-up to the Connacht SFC quarter-final between Mayo and New York at Gaelic Park next Sunday, May 5.
With an unprecedented number of Mayo supporters believed to be travelling to America for the novel fixture, and only approximately 4,500 tickets understood to be available for the game, some Mayo fans look set to miss out on seeing the match.
County Board secretary Dermot Butler contacted all Mayo GAA clubs last Wednesday evening via e-mail to inform them that ‘there are no more tickets available from Mayo GAA’ for the game and that it was ‘unlikely’ that any more would become available.
Tickets were distributed to senior clubs (10 each), intermediate clubs (eight each) and junior clubs (six each) earlier this month.
New York GAA — who are responsible for all aspects of the ticketing arrangements for the game — are expected to have a limited number of tickets on general sale outside Gaelic Park on Sunday morning next.
However, Connacht GAA Council secretary, John Prenty, has repeated his warning to Mayo supporters travelling to New York next week without a ticket that they should prepare themselves for the worst.
“If there are 10,000 people going over then there are going to be 5,500 of them at the malls, they won’t be at the match, it’s as simple as that,” Prenty told The Mayo News Football Podcast.
“Once you get to 4,500 people [in the ground], that’s it.
“The [demolition] work [at one end of Gaelic Park to create some extra space] only started recently because of an issue with a licence to knock a building and take it away, so they have a lot of work to do over the next few weeks.
“My understanding is that they’re going to put bleachers in there, but there’s 4,500 tickets available and I’d say, when they’re gone, they’re gone.
“From what I’m hearing there might be 300, 400 or 500 tickets available [for general sale] on the morning of the match, but that’ll be it.
“So I’ll go back to what I’ve been telling people for the last few months, if you’re going to New York, go for the craic, not for the match.”
It was estimated that around 4,000 people were in Gaelic Park to see Mayo beat New York on their last visit back in 2014, but anecdotal evidence this time around suggests that more than 5,000 people look set to make the transatlantic journey for next weekend’s encounter.
As a result, the scramble for match tickets has been similar to an All-Ireland Final for those travelling who have not yet been able to secure a precious piece of paper.
Mayo’s recent victory in the National League Final has also added to the excitement ahead of their first championship game of the summer.
“I don’t think the Mayo supporters got excited when Mayo won the league, I think they got excited when their friends came home from New York five years ago and said they’d had great craic,” smiled John Prenty.
“I agree there’s great craic out there, so go for the craic.
“We never had more than 3,500 people going to a match at Gaelic Park, no matter how many people went out to New York with any team — so that would leave you with room for 1,000 extra.
“But if there are 10,000 Mayo people going, then a lot of them will be in Times Square or somewhere but they won’t be in Gaelic Park.”
The Connacht SFC quarter-final between Mayo and New York on Sunday, May 5 throws-in at 2.15pm (7.15pm Irish time) at Gaelic Park.