Ports make plans to ease fans’ final fears

Gary Twigg celebrates with Tim Mouncey following the latter's decisive goal against Crusaders. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Gary Twigg celebrates with Tim Mouncey following the latter's decisive goal against Crusaders. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
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Portadown have confirmed that ticket arrangements for the Irish Cup final will include special options for group bookings and supporters without internet access.

Full details of the May 2 showpiece should be finalised at Monday’s meeting between the Ports, Glentoran, PSNI and Irish Football Association - but plans have received the green light in advance to facilitate specialist requests.

Supporters will be waiting in anticipation for answers relating to key decisions - in particular, the venue choice and ticket booking. If, as expected, safety concerns rule out Windsor Park then it is understood that alternatives under review include Ulster Rugby’s Kingspan Stadium, Ballymena Showgrounds or Glentoran’s The Oval.

However, each venue will throw up issues ranging from security fears, additional costs relating to temporary seating or neutrality.

It has been confirmed that Ticketmaster will operate as the booking system irrespective of the final venue.

“The meeting on Monday will then give us three weeks before the game so decisions must be made,” said Bill Emerson, Portadown’s club secretary. “We expect tickets to become available from Tuesday, if not Monday night.

We want to facilitate supporters as much as possible

Bill Emerson

“An announcement on the venue could come from the IFA before Monday.

“Although we will finalise the working practices next week, it has been agreed to use the parent clubs for group bookings or to help those fans without internet access.

“We are looking into how to make everything work but most, if not all, of our supporters’ clubs have already started collecting money for tickets alongside interest from outside groups.

“It may be a case of offering priority access to groups and then, in terms of individuals without internet access, having designated times to visit Shamrock Park and we will use laptops to make bookings.

“We want to facilitate supporters as much as possible and, hopefully, these proposals can help make life easier for groups to remain together or individuals to access tickets with our assistance.”

The previous Irish Cup final meeting resulted in one decision - with Portadown winning the coin toss to select home changing rooms.