Football’s ticketing issues hurting fans; Kevin McStay on Mayo

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy at training ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Denmark and Copenhagen. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy at training ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Denmark and Copenhagen. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Saturday’s Champions League final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool may well have been the most expensive black market ticket ever with money to the tune of €10,000 changing hands in Madrid on the day of the game. However, that is just one aspect of an inflated ticketing market which is seeing regular fans lose out when it comes to the big games. This morning, in our new series of consumer-based sports stories, we take a look at how those who invest the most in following football teams around Europe are the ones who are hardest hit when their team reaches the big games. On Saturday a full 40 per cent of the stadium was made up of people on corporate-based tickets with thousands of regular match-goers left empty handed or very short changed. With the club season now finished the focus turns towards the international scene in the seemingly never-ending world of football. On Friday Ireland will meet familiar foes in Copenhagen as Mick McCarthy looks to do what Martin O’Neill couldn’t and beat Denmark. Speaking yesterday the Ireland manager was in a confident mood despite the loss of Shane Long to injury and he also says he is relieved that the new handball rules are yet to come into effect as he sees them having a very difficult impact on defenders. Meanwhile, with perhaps Ireland’s best two players occupying the same position of right-back, Matt Doherty says he will have no hard feelings if Séamus Coleman starts ahead of him on Friday with McCarthy now seemingly pretty sure that playing both players doesn’t really work.

On to GAA and Kevin McStay writes in his column this morning that Mayo are far from guaranteed passage into the Super 8s after their defeat to Roscommon confined them to the qualifiers. McStay says the quality of teams they may face could well see their year end a lot earlier than was expected. “Mayo find themselves in a vulnerable place now, in the qualifiers in early June. Some teams get lucky. We already mentioned Cork’s position; they knew they would probably be in a Munster final and thus the last 12. But Mayo and either Donegal or Tyrone will find themselves in a much more difficult place,” he writes. On Saturday Waterford were humiliated by Limerick in Walsh Park with a 20-point defeat for a team that less than two years ago was in an All-Ireland final. Speaking yesterday, former coach Shane Ahearne said that the Déise’s display was unacceptable but he is confident this bad spell won’t undo two decades of progress.

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