Belfast Telegraph

Irish Cup final: online booking would be just the ticket

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Conor McLaughlin

They're the hottest tickets in town – or at least they would be if any were actually on sale.

On Saturday, Belfast will play host to one of the most eagerly anticipated Irish Cup finals in living memory when Ballymena United lock horns with Glenavon; an occasion that has caught the imagination of everyone in the football family... apart from the Irish Football Association.

Are you a neutral who fancies being there to see history being made? Don't expect the IFA to help you because they've no tickets in stock.

It's not that they've sold out – they never had any in the first place.

If it wasn't bad enough that, in the year 2014, you STILL can't buy Cup Final tickets online, it's farcical to think you couldn't even have walked into the IFA's Windsor Avenue headquarters and bought one there in person.

It's only right, of course, that fans of the participating clubs are given priority but what about those Glenavon supporters who don't live in Lurgan? Likewise, plenty of the Sky Blue faithful aren't based in Ballymena.

Yet they're the only places you can actually get your hands on a ticket for Saturday's big showdown.

The IFA have learned plenty of lessons with regards to the Cup Final experience in recent years and are now proactive in ensuring that spectators are located in the stands most prominent to television viewers, while it's thankfully been a while since the trophy was presented against a barren wasteland backdrop.

But how about providing a facility for fans to book their seats at the click of a button? That would be just the ticket.

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