GAA chiefs are expected to take the lessons learned from Wednesday night’s opening game in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh and apply them at this weekend’s All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals, writes Michael Moynihan.
Almost 11,000 people turned up in the new stadium to watch Blarney take on Valley Rovers in the Premier intermediate hurling championship, and though the feedback was positive, teething problems which arose will be addressed ahead of the games tomorrow and Sunday.
Spectators’ lack of familiarity with gates and entrances is one obvious issue and the stadium authorities are expected to increase signage around the stadium itself and on the Monahan Road, Centre Park Road and the Marina, particularly as supporters of Clare, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford will be unfamiliar with the new alignment of the venue.
For those attending the stadium, the north stand is the old ‘uncovered’ stand, while the south stand is the old ‘covered’ or Sean McCarthy Stand.
Stadium authorities are keen to impress upon those coming to the venue this weekend that entrance to the north stand is via the Marina rather than Monahan Road side.
It’s also expected that up to 40 “stadium ambassadors” will be in the area to help those arriving to find their gates, seats and so forth. These ambassadors will be easily identifiable through clothing and flags.
As the Clare-Tipperary and Waterford-Wexford games are in the All-Ireland series, Croke Park will be centrally involved in the running of the matches, and it’s expected that there will be approximately 400 stewards on hand to facilitate spectators.
Queueing for shops in the stadium concourses will have to be addressed, as straight queues leading back from shop counters blocked movement of people on Wednesday evening.
It’s expected that a ‘snake queue’ system will be introduced to enable movement within the stadium.
Drinking alcohol on the terraces or in the stands will not be allowed this weekend either.
Stadium authorities were surprised with the queues at the ticketing vans outside the stadium on Wednesday evening as spectators could have pre-purchased tickets in SuperValu; this is not expected to be an issue this weekend as most supporters from the four counties involved have pre-purchased tickets.
Further away from the stadium venue itself, a major traffic plan is expected to get underway in east Cork on Saturday and Sunday, with Tipperary supporters from the south of the county expected to take that route to Cork for Saturday’s game, while the majority of Waterford and Wexford supporters will come through east Cork for Sunday’s clash.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.