Tuesday, July 06, 2021

GAA officials were last night understood to be considering increasing the number of spectators allowed to attend next Sunday’s Connacht SFC semi-final between Mayo and Leitrim at MacHale Park, Castlebar.

The senior football clash of Mayo and Leitrim next Sunday could become a pilot test event, allowing for several thousand supporters to attend. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Covid-19 restrictions currently permit a maximum of 500 people in stadia with a minimum capacity of 5,000, however, test events undertaken by the GAA last weekend saw larger numbers of patrons watch football and hurling championship matches across three provinces.
Some 8,000 people were allowed into Croke Park on Saturday to watch a double-header of Leinster SHC semi-finals and 3,000 attended the Munster SHC clash of Tipperary and Clare at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Sunday, the same day that an official attendance of 1,049 watched Galway overcome Roscommon in the Connacht SFC semi-final at Dr Hyde Park.
MacHale Park has a capacity in the region of 31,000 and the Western People understands the possibility of 3,000 tickets being made available for next Sunday’s match was explored yesterday (Monday) and due to be discussed between officials of Connacht GAA Council and Mayo County Board last night.
As it stands, the existing 500 tickets are for distribution among players, their families, officials and sponsors but an increase, if authorised, would potentially allow for a distribution of tickets among clubs in both counties.

The game between Mayo and Kerry on March 1, 2020 was the last time Mayo fans were able to watch their side play in MacHale Park. Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

The last time the Mayo senior football team played in front of a home crowd was on March 1, 2020 when they lost a fifth-round Division 1 tie with Kerry by one point. As it happened, the attendance of 8,069 that day was one of Mayo’s smallest for a National Football League home fixture in recent years.
Sunday’s game, which is being televised live by RTÉ, has a 2pm throw-in. The winners will advance to a Connacht SFC final meeting with Galway, who got the better of Roscommon by five points last Sunday.

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