Donegal’s ticket allocation for next month’s big championship game with Tyrone in Ballybofey, is going to fall well short of demand.
By Tom Comack
Clubs have been warned, too, that the allocation will not even satisfy club membership which is up 50% on last year.
This was the stark message from county chairman, Sean Dunnion, to club delegates at Tuesday’s monthly county committee meeting in the Villa Rose Hotel, Ballybofey.
While Donegal is still awaiting numbers on their allocation from the Ulster Council, the chairman said the reality is that we will not receive enough tickets for all club members, which is up from over 6,000 in 2012 to just over 12,000 this year.
“We cannot say what the allocation is going to be and we won’t know that until the end of the month and it may be even early next month before we receive a final figure.
“But the reality is that the capacity of MacCumhaill Park is 17,520 and the Tyrone have to receive an allocation and the other seven counties have to get an allocation,” said the chairman.
“Going on those figures alone it is easy to see that there is no way the allocation is going to cover the full adult membership (in Donegal) which is 12,117 this year. I think it is only right that clubs should be informing their members of this fact.”
The chairman also stated that the board were to make enquiries as to whether SuperValu was going to be an outlet for tickets for the game. And he insisted that the board would be insisting that the Donegal board receive the bulk of the tickets coming into the county, though he did point out the Association at national level may have contractual commitments with SuperValu on the matter.
Mickey McMahon, Bundoran, queried if Donegal had any control of who got tickets and if they could stop SuperValu receiving an allocation, while Eddie Walsh, Sean MacCumhaill’s, said as he understood it, SuperValu in Ballybofey were advertising the sale of tickets for the game.
While the county are still in the dark on their allocation, the only figure in the public domain on the matter is that revealed by the chairman, Sean Dunnion, at a county board meeting earlier in the year.
At the February county committee meeting when seeking approval for the go ahead for the required refurbishment work at MacCumhaill Park, the chairman mentioned a figure of 5,500 to 6,000 going to the competing counties’
Those figures, which were just an educated guess, were based on a capacity of 18,000. The new official capacity for MacCumhaill Park is now 17,520.
As a direct consequence of the uncertainty over the allocation a proposal from treasurer Grace Boyle to offer a ticket to the game as an incentive to attract members to Club Tir Conaill was put on hold, until the allocation is known.
The treasurer had proposed the offer of a ticket as incentive to any one who would sign up to Club Tir Chonaill’s new fund-raising drive, which is due to be launched in Ballybofey on Sunday after Donegal’s league game with Dublin.
Club Tir Chonaill members are being asked to fork out €500, with all the funds going to the building of new dressing rooms at the county’s new Centre of Excellence at Convoy.
While many agreed it was a good idea and the €180,000 targeted for the work at Convoy was needed, the general feeling of county committee seemed to be with tickets likely to be in short supply that no commitment could be given on the proposal until clubs had a better idea of their allocations.
The treasurer’s proposal, which was put by Ciaran Kelly, St. Naul’s, the chairman of Club Tir Chonaill, and seconded by coaching officer,, Anthony Harkin was defeated, having only garnered less than a handful of votes.
A counter proposal from Ed Byrne, Killybegs, that no decision be made until after the allocation was known, was passed with almost unanimous approval of county committee.
This proposal was seconded by Chris Walsh, who also raised the question on how the treasurer proposed to distribute the tickets re stand and terrace tickets. The chairman felt this would be on a 50/50 basis.
It is certainly going to prove a hot issue and in many cases a divisive one in clubs over the next six to seven weeks, and clubs should now be putting in place allocation systems.
The Ed Byrne proposal, given time constraints and given the fact that the allocation may be known before next month’s county committee, gave the county executive the power to decide if the incentive should be given to Club Tir Chonaill members.