Treaty chief claims fans victims of decision to stage final at Páirc

Limerick chairman Oliver Mann has slammed the Munster Council’s decision to stage the provincial hurling decider at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on July 13.

Treaty chief claims  fans  victims of decision to stage final at Páirc

Though previously stating the Shannonsiders had no reservations travelling to Leeside, Mann yesterday revealed Limerick GAA chiefs had lobbied the Munster Council not to fix the game at the Cork venue.

The Limerick chairman said the decision to fix the game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh will deprive thousands of supporters the opportunity to attend the showpiece event.

The stadium’s current capacity is 32,168, with Munster Council chief executive Simon Moroney confirming that figure is subject to change pending the completion of remedial work at the ground.

Moroney conceded “it is highly unlikely” tickets will be made available for public sale ahead of the contest.

Mann raged on Limerick’s Live95: “I am sorry for all the people who won’t be able to go see Limerick and Cork play.

“We spoke with the Munster Council about the capacity of Páirc Uí Chaoimh and I said it wasn’t sufficient for the anticipated attendance. This decision does not make sense.

“The supporter is the victim in all this. Our hurlers have no issue where the game is played. I do have an issue that so many supporters are being deprived of the opportunity of going to a Munster final. I don’t use that word loosely.

“They are not being deprived by Cork, they are being deprived by the Munster Council. They are the ultimate decision-makers.

“I would anticipate that if the game was played elsewhere you would have 47,000 or 48,000 at the game.”

Provincial coffers are braced for a significant hit as last year’s fixture at the Gaelic Grounds attracted a 42,730 attendance.

“We asked Cork after the match in Thurles would they consider coming back to Semple Stadium but they wouldn’t budge,” said Munster Council chairman Robert Frost.

Moroney admitted the home-and-away agreement was a strong factor in their decision to award the final to Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“You would like to maximise on the interest there but factors had to be taken into account, the existence of the home-and-away agreement and the expectation that the agreement would be upheld. There is no doubt that there is a greater capacity in Thurles to cater for this Munster final.

“There were other issues to be considered by the CCC before a decision could be made. The capacity of the ground and healthy and safety concerns were all factors that came into the mix. Obviously the last major game played there in terms of numbers was the 2012 Munster final and there had to be a review of the stadium’s health and safety situation. That was a factor in the time it took to get the documentation and data together before an informed decision could be made.”

Provincial top brass will await the outcome of this evening’s Munster MHC semi-final between Limerick and Cork before determining the tickets allocation to both counties.

Moroney refused to comment on the likely shortage of tickets, expressing disappointment at the misinformation concerning Páirc Uí Chaoimh’s capacity circulated in certain quarters.

“There has been a lot of misinformation with regard to capacities and that has been regrettable because it inflated expectations and wise counsel should have dictated there wasn’t that speculation. It is the consultants who set the capacity and speculating doesn’t do anyone any good. It only increases expectations that aren’t realisable.

“32,000 is less than 35,000, it is less than 40,000 and it is less than 45,000 so obviously everybody’s proportionate allocation will drop compared with last year. If we had more tickets we would distribute more tickets.

“Tickets for the final are generally distributed via the county boards. Unless tickets return it is highly unlikely tickets will be available for public sale. That is the only circumstance that would allow us satisfy that demand. Full allocation of tickets will be made to the county boards in the province and then a small allocation for certain counties outside the province who would generally get a small allocation.”

Meanwhile, Limerick PRO Eamonn Phelan is predicting a logistical nightmare for his county board.

“Senior clubs may only get 10 or 12 stand tickets each, eight for intermediate clubs and six for junior clubs.

“You’d have had a full house in Thurles and Limerick would have brought 20-22,000 supporters. It’s going to cause mayhem in clubs, compared to last year.”

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