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Glentoran getting to the seat of the issue for Irish Cup showpiece

By Graham Luney

Published 23/04/2015

Temporary seating at the Oval
Temporary seating at the Oval

Glentoran have reassured supporters they are working tirelessly to secure more tickets for the Irish Cup final next Saturday so more fans can witness the showpiece occasion.

The club's allocation of 2,000 tickets for general sale at The Oval yesterday afternoon was snapped up in only 85 minutes - less time than it takes to play a football match!

The queue for tickets was so long that the club had to turn away 180 disappointed supporters.

Tickets, which were limited to four per person, were shifted quickly ahead of Glentoran's clash with Portadown, the first Irish Cup final at The Oval since 1995.

An additional 2,200 temporary seats are being installed at the Sydenham End of the ground and if Portadown sell their allocation the attendance will be around 8,200 but Glentoran are now asking the Irish FA for another 1,000 tickets.

Glens chairman Stephen Henderson said: "We plan to go back to the IFA and find out if there are any technical or logistical reasons for not allowing us to sell another 1,000 tickets.

"We are absolutely confident we can sell those tickets and it's a real shame that supporters are going to miss out.

"We have the space available to do it and we just hope that the IFA can find a way to let more fans in.

"Both clubs favoured playing the game at the Kingspan but now we are faced with a smaller crowd and we are losing out financially, leaving us in the position of looking to seek financial compensation.

"Interest in this game is massive and it could be the last ever Irish Cup final at The Oval as the national stadium gets up and running.

"The people who know Glentoran fans are Glentoran Football Club and we knew demand would exceed supply.

"We have done our best to accommodate season ticket holders, shareholders and every single supporters' club but unfortunately some fans will miss out.

"There is still hope though and we will request more tickets from the IFA."

The last time supporters converged on The Oval in such huge numbers was for a pre-season friendly against Manchester United during the club's 125th anniversary - a crowd of 14,000 watched United win 3-0.

Windsor Park, which could have accommodated more than 10,000 fans, is sealed off for safety reasons after significant damage to the Kop Stand, which now needs to be destroyed and rebuilt.

Supporters welcomed the IFA's decision to ditch plans to use Ticketmaster to sell tickets but Portadown have sought assurances over the safety of their fans and remain angry at the choice of venue.

Ports assistant manager Kieran Harding said: "We are playing away from home and are huge underdogs. Through no fault of our own we have to play this final at The Oval and we feel discriminated against. It's been a tough decision for the IFA but we feel we weren't given enough opportunity to suggest viable alternatives."

The match kicks off at 2.30pm and is live on BBC Sport NI.

Belfast Telegraph

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