Some supporters will get to see John Maughan's Offaly in action against Fermanagh.
THE Offaly GAA County Board are to hold a draw for the right to purchase tickets for Saturday week's big National Football League Division 3 semi-final against Fermanagh in Tullamore.
100 tickets for the game are being made available to the general public and the County Board have decided that the fairest way to distribute these is by a draw.
A form to enter the draw is on the home page of www.offaly.gaa.ie and it must be entered by 5.00pm on Tuesday, June 8. The 100 names drawn will be contacted and may then purchase one ticket for €15.
The draw follows on from a Government and GAA announcement earlier this week that supporters can return to games. Initially 100 spectators can attend all games, club and county, from Monday June 7 – this is in addition to players, team personnel, stewards and media. 200 spectators can attend at a ground where there is an accredited capacity of over 5,000 spectators. O'Connor Park is in this category and 100 of those tickets are being made available to the general public.
Up to 200 may be allowed to attend from July 5 with 500 at grounds with that 5,000 plus capacity. No supporters will be allowed at this Sunday's National Hurling League Division 2A match between Offaly and Down in Tullamore.
The County Board would have considered a number of options, including distributing the tickets to clubs and letting them decide what to do with them. However, some clubs found it a headache dealing with a small number of tickets for games last year, especially the big ones. While handing them to club chairmen and secretaries would have been a fair solution in this case, the County Board have decided to give the wider GAA public the opportunity to go to what could be Offaly's biggest football game of the year – the winners will be promoted.
The numbers allowed go to games will be small for the next while but at least it is progress and a sign of better things to come.
It also means that some supporters may have the opportunity of attending the Leinster minor football and hurling finals. Offaly play Meath in the minor football on June 30 with the minor hurling decider against Kilkenny on four days later in Portlaoise. They come short of the July 5 date for 500 people and it means that very few supporters will get to see the game at the venue. One parent of each player has been allowed to attend previous games, even when no supporters were allowed, because they are minor and it remains to be seen if they will be included in Offaly's tally or if they will be able to distribute a further 100 tickets for each to the general public.
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