Sort of normality as 3,500 fans get to see Mayo clash

MacHale Park. Photo: Sportsfile

MacHale Park. Photo: Sportsfile

There will be a move of sorts back to normality on Sunday afternoon when the biggest crowd to attend a sporting event in the county since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, will gather in MacHale Park.

Mayo's Connacht Senior Football Championship semi-final clash against Leitrim on Sunday afternoon in the Castlebar venue, will see 3,500 spectators allowed into the ground for the eagerly awaited clash.

While there were limited numbers of spectators allowed to attend club football games last summer up to the county finals, this will be the first big inter-county football game that will see spectators in attendance in the county since March 1, 2020, when Mayo took on Kerry in the National Football League in the same venue.

There have been very limited attendances at both of Mayo's last two games - the National League semi-final against Clare in Ennis and their opening round Connacht Championship clash against Sligo two weeks ago in Markievicz Park in Sligo. There was also an increase in supporters allowed into last Saturday's Nicky Rackard Cup clash between the Mayo senior hurlers and Leitrim, which also took place in the Castlebar venue.

Connacht GAA Secretary, John Prenty, told the Mayo Advertiser that: "We'll have 3,500 people in on Sunday. We were able to put around 1,000 tickets on general sale for the game online."

Highlighting the interest from the public in getting tickets for games, he went on to say: "We put up 330 last week for the Roscommon v Leitrim u20 game and they were gone in four minutes, so that shows the demand from people out there."

As for why the general sale tickets were online only, he explained: "The reason we are putting them for sale online is for contact tracing - when you buy them online you're able to get all the details from people when they are purchasing them."

As for any hopes of seeing a bigger crowd at a potential Connacht final in the same venue if Mayo overcome Leitrim on Sunday, it will be difficult to see that happen at the moment, Prenty added: "It will be difficult because of the two-meter distancing, if it came down to one-meter distancing you could get more, but as it is, we can't put any more people in the stand with the two-meter distancing.

"It is a big job to organise all this - we did not know what we had until Monday morning, then we had to go to Mac Hale Park and get all the details and look at different zones and get an algorithm to see how many we can get in."


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