Ports call for final ticket control due to “grave” safety concerns

Portadown captain Keith O'Hara (right) up against Glentoran's Jordan Stewart on Saturday in the league game. Both clubs will return to The Oval next month for the Irish Cup final. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Portadown captain Keith O'Hara (right) up against Glentoran's Jordan Stewart on Saturday in the league game. Both clubs will return to The Oval next month for the Irish Cup final. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown officials have requested total control over the club’s ticket allocation for the Irish Cup final due to “grave security concerns”.

The decision to use Ticketmaster as a ticket outlet for the May 2 showpiece has sparked serious fears within the Shamrock Park camp that excess demand could lead to Glentoran fans in the Portadown end.

“We have a perfect track record in terms of handling our own ticket sales for past cup finals and feel that is the best way to guarantee the safety of our supporters,” said Portadown club secretary Bill Emerson. “We have made our feelings clear in an e-mail to the Irish Football Association and PSNI.

“Regrettably, there is a history of trouble in games between the clubs and the Ticketmaster system cannot regulate distribution.

“This is a unique situation but one which could end up, to be blunt, in a bloodbath.

“We strongly feel control within the club will cut out that threat.

“It is a one-way risk as the Portadown allocation will meet our own demand but hundreds could miss out on a ticket for the Glentoran section.

“We also have concerns with security outside The Oval after the match but the main issue relates to ticket distribution.”

Around 3,000 tickets have been assigned to the Portadown support for The Oval - with 1,700 seating and 1,300 terracing. Allocated seating will not be in place, with Ticketmaster sales expected online this week.

Prices have been set as £15 (seating), £12 (terracing) and £8 (concession). The Ticketmaster booking fee is expected between £1.50 and £2.25 per ticket.

Season ticket holders have been asked to contact Emerson this weekend on 07729804542.

“We have bookings from around 880 supporters’ club members and must also handle 200 season ticket holders,” said Emerson. “We have requested 1,500 tickets for priority cases and expect those by, at the latest, Saturday.

“Any of our remaining tickets will go on general sale from Shamrock Park next Tuesday at 6 o’clock.

“At that point we can facilitate individual supporters unable to access the internet.”