Glentoran and Portadown welcome ticketing move for Irish Cup final

The Oval will host next month's Irish Cup final
The Oval will host next month's Irish Cup final

Glentoran and Portadown have welcomed the “common sense approach” over ticketing arrangements for next month’s Irish Cup final.

It emerged on Thursday that both clubs will now handle the sale of ALL tickets for the May 2 clash at The Oval.

The Irish FA had come under fire for using Ticketmaster for the glamour end-of-season showpiece.

Concerns over availability of tickets and the potential for crowd trouble had been voiced in recent days, with some supporters threatening to boycott the fixture.

Glentoran chairman Stephen Henderson last night welcomed the move.

“As a club we believe that online ticketing is the way forward, but our concerns were that the arrangements for this Irish Cup final hadn’t been thought out properly,” he said.

“I am pleased that both clubs will now handle the sale of all tickets. With there being a reduced capacity, there will be a scramble for tickets. Our priority is that our regular fans, such as season ticket holders, are able to attend the final.

“Also the supporters who would attend at various stages throughout the season.

“There were also some concerns over crowd safety, with the fear that rival fans would end up in the same part of the ground if tickets were bought online.

“There is an element of people that attach themselves to both clubs who could cause trouble at any fixture, and that is something we don’t want.”

Structural damage to Windsor Park’s West Stand saw the game moved to Glentoran’s Oval home.

The capacity for next month’s final is currently restricted to 6,000 – with both clubs sharing a 50-50 split of tickets.

But it has also emerged that Glentoran are looking at the option of installing additional seating to facilitate demand.

“We took around 6,000 fans to the final two years ago, and we would expect more this year,” Henderson added.

“We are liaising with the Irish FA over the prospect of installing temporary seating. This will not cost Glentoran Football Club.

“We have to assess what the demand could be. We don’t want to install a lot of seating that is not used.”

Portadown have also welcomed the move.

Secretary Bill Emerson said: “I am grateful to the IFA for listening to our concerns and it has been agreed in the best interests of all for both clubs to handle ticket sales.”

Both clubs are expected to start the sale of tickets this weekend at The Oval and Shamrock Park respectively.