The inability of the main stand at Fitzgerald Stadium to cater for all Kerry and Mayo season ticket holders has resulted in the capacity of the Killarney venue being reduced by over 6,000 for Sunday’s Super 8 fixture.
Kerry County Board chairman Tim Murphy confirmed yesterday that the capacity of Fitzgerald Stadium has been lowered from 38,000 to 31,900 for this weekend’s All-Ireland quarter-final round-robin game.
But despite this 16% reduction, the Kerry official is confident demand for tickets will not exceed supply.
The main stand at Fitzgerald Stadium can hold approximately 7,500 people, according to the county board chairman, but this figure drops under the 7,000 mark when the portion of seats allocated to Ard Comhairle, the respective subs, and backroom staff are factored in, as well as the front row, which will not be in use because of the obstructed view it offers.
The remaining number of seats would not be enough to accommodate the almost 7,000 season ticket holders from the two counties and so all tickets for the game state general admission, rather than specifying entry to the main stand or any particular terrace.
The main stand will be filled on a first come, first served basis this Sunday. And once all seats have been taken, the turnstiles leading into the stand will be shut, with queuing supporters directed to the terrace. To facilitate this “free movement of people around the ground on match-day”, Croke Park bosses, in line with health and safety regulation, dictated the 6,000-cut in capacity.
“Because of the number of season ticket holders between the two counties, but primarily Mayo, I think they have around 4,500 season ticket holders, whereas we’d have in between 2,000-2,500, you couldn’t guarantee every season ticket holder a seat in the stand. So for that reason, entry has been made general admission,” explained Murphy.
“Basically, it will be first come, first gets into the stand, irrespective of whether you are a season ticket holder or not. And because of that, the health and safety people reduced the capacity by around 6,000. To allow for the free movement of people on the day, there has to be a lesser number of people in and around the stadium, on health and safety grounds.
Murphy forecast a crowd somewhere in the region of between 27,000-30,000. The 2015 and 2017 Cork-Kerry Munster SFC finals at Fitzgerald Stadium exceeded the 30,000-mark, with the attendance at the drawn and replayed decider in 2015 surpassing what capacity has been set at this weekend.
The last high-profile knockout fixture staged at Fitzgerald Stadium was the 2012 third-round qualifier between Kerry and Tyrone, a game watched by a crowd of 24,370. The county board chairman said the early afternoon clamour for a place in the stand will not necessitate extra stewarding on Sunday.
“A lot of the stewards would have been exposed to the first come, first served procedure when on duty at the league games in Tralee earlier this year when Mayo and Dubin provided the opposition. I think the capacity of 31,900 will be adequate.”