Ballygiblin joy at venue u-turn: 'Anyone that wants to go to this game should now be able to'

GAA chiefs have switched the All-Ireland Club JHC semi-final from Abbottstown to MW Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise to allow more fans to gain entry to the match
Ballygiblin joy at venue u-turn: 'Anyone that wants to go to this game should now be able to'

Celebrations after the cup presentation to Ballygiblin captain Fionn Herlihy after they defeated Skeheenarinky in the Munster final. Picture: Larry Cummins

Ballygiblin chairman Liam O’Doherty has welcomed the decision to switch Sunday’s All-Ireland Club JHC semi-final, against Fullen Gaels, from Abbottstown to MW Hire O’Moore Park which can accommodate a much larger crowd.

The clubs were both allocated 100 tickets for the Abbottstown venue at the Sport Ireland campus, with all remaining tickets, believed to have totalled 400, put up for sale online.

Ballygiblin officials complained that a cap of 600 on fans at the venue would result in several hundred supporters being left at home on Sunday.

On foot of Ballygiblin pleas, Croke Park this afternoon announced that the All-Ireland semi-final has been switched from Abbottstown to the much larger MW Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.

The throw-in time has also been changed, from 1.30pm to 12.30pm, in order to facilitate the Fullen Gaels team who fly out of Dublin early on Sunday evening.

“We have to be delighted. Heading into an All-Ireland semi-final is a task in itself, besides trying to be arguing over venues,” said Ballygiblin chairman Liam O’Doherty.

“Anyone that wants to go to this game should now be able to go - that is the main thing. Whether they are coming to support ourselves or Fullen Gaels, they are all entitled to go.

“It is the first time we have got outside the county and so it is the first time we have big momentum going with supporters, you could see that with the crowd in Mallow. Who'd have thought the Munster final in Mallow would have to be delayed because of the size of the crowd? This is the one chance the people of this parish have to get a bit further afield, and the next thing they were restricted with the initial venue capacity. Thankfully, it has now been sorted and I want to take this opportunity to thank Kieran Leddy and the Munster Council who were extremely helpful to us.” 

The Ballygiblin chairman also thanked the Manchester-based club for agreeing to the venue switch.

“It is not easy when you are dealing with a team flying in from England because they are confined by the time of their flights and so that has to be taken into account. Our compromise is that we are willing to start an hour earlier to accommodate their departure flight. Their compromise is that they are travelling further south.

“Fullen Gaels are made up of Irish lads and two members of their team are from East Cork. We had people make contact with us who wanted to go up and see a family member involved with Fullen Gaels but had no chance to get a ticket, so that'll tell you the way it was with tickets before the venue change. Every member of that Fullen Gaels team has a family in Ireland and they'll want to go see that game, and now they’ll be able to.”

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