There was a collective shudder amongst GAA club secretaries and those involved in the staging and streaming of matches when the new Government guidelines were made public on Tuesday.
Phones have been ringing and buzzing incessantly as preparations continue apace and the hunt for one of the 100 or 200 (depending on venue) golden tickets made available to each club intensified.
The Roscommon People bravely ventured out into the community to speak to some of the volunteers on the frontlines ahead of this weekend’s Senior and Intermediate football championship finals at Dr. Hyde Park.
Roscommon GAA’s Public Relations Officer, Hugh Lynn, emerged from a secret bunker on the outskirts of Loughglynn on Wednesday in order to provide an update on the County Board’s battle plan ahead of the weekend.
“The new guidelines are positive. We had nobody at matches before and now we have 200 and that number is better this time because it only includes spectators. It will allow for some nice family moments at these matches.
“We’d obviously love more supporters there but Roscommon GAA puts the safety and welfare of supporters first. We have to live within the rules and that’s what we are doing.
“My heart goes out to the people who have to decide on who gets tickets this weekend. I saw it at my own club for the group stages so can only imagine how difficult it must be for a final,” he said.
Roscommon GAA will be streaming the matches online once again and they can be purchased for €6 each or just €9.99 for both.
“Supporters can log on to gaaroscommon.ie and click on the live stream button at the top,” he said.
The County PRO was happy to confirm that not even a global pandemic could prevent Roscommon GAA releasing a very special edition of the county final programme.
“I can confirm that a super 80-page programme has gone to print and it’s a combination of both the Intermediate and Senior finals. It is also the 50th anniversary of the Intermediate Championship so this will be a great collector’s item for supporters,” he added.
Those wishing to purchase this year’s county final programme can do so by calling Hugh on 087-6263102. Copies will be sold in all four areas involved in this weekend’s finals.
Meanwhile, St. Dominic’s’ senior football secretary, Olivia Connaughton, has said club secretaries have been put in an unenviable position this week.
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, she said: “I’ve had no correspondence so far regarding tickets but we have had a huge amount of requests since Tuesday.
“Previously the numbers allowed at matches included players and mentors and it was war when it came to issuing tickets.
“100 tickets is still nothing for our club because we haven’t been in an Intermediate final in a number of years and there’s huge interest. I’m a parent myself so I know how difficult it has been this year (not being able to attend matches). We also have to offer junior players tickets because they have been training with the Intermediate team this year and are a big part of it.
“There is enough going on in the week of a big final (without this distraction) and sadly we are missing out on the buzz and excitement (of a final week). Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to be in the final but I think they should open it up to a larger number or just leave it behind closed doors,” she said.
As the hard-working volunteers at St. Brigid’s, Pádraig Pearses, Oran and St. Dominic’s braced themselves ahead of a deluge of ticket requests this week, a source close to a major sportswear firm told the Roscommon People that flak jackets in club and county colours could be set to hit the Irish market soon.