Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds queue in sun to snap up Glentoran v Portadown Irish Cup final tickets

By Lesley Houston

Hundreds of football fans queued for hours in the sunshine for a chance to see their beloved team play in the Irish Cup final.

Some Glentoran supporters pitched up with deck chairs in the hope of getting seats for the clash with Portadown next month.

Some left the Oval in east Belfast jubilant, clutching up to four tickets for the May 2 final, but the hopes of around 100 people were dashed when at 5.30pm club officials confirmed it was a sell-out in just 90 minutes.

Under sizzling heat and a clear blue sky, fans began queueing at the east Belfast venue at noon ahead of the sale at 4pm.

They were four-deep as the line-up snaked its way down Parkgate Drive, past Mersey Street and on to Yukon Street and once the booths opened tickets were going like the proverbial hot cakes.

Supporters were vying for the last 2,000 tickets which are being accommodated at the ground by temporary seating following the shift of the tie from Windsor Park after the closure of a damaged stand.

The sale followed the distribution of 3,000 tickets apiece to Glens and Portadown club members last Saturday.

At around 4pm fans at the end of the line - many of whom had taken the day off work specially - had been waiting for well over an hour but were still hopeful they'd leave clutching the all-important tickets.

Simon Harvey (28) said he'd been coming to Glens matches with friends David Stewart (26) and William McKee (27) since they were kids.

The trio said "missing the match wasn't optional".

Though they admitted following English premiership football, David said: "This is the main one."

Bangor man Bill Hawkins got his hands on two coveted tickets, keeping alive a family tradition.

"I'm originally from east Belfast and I'll be bringing my son as my father brought me when I was young enough to be carried over the turnstiles," he said.

As the tickets were dished out, jubilant faces shone under the sun as people phoned friends on their way out to reveal the good news.

At around 5pm a number of people evidently just out of work arrived with panicked expressions on their faces, still hopeful of securing the gold dust stubs.

Their hope was shortlived, however, when just before 5.30pm a club official approached the remaining string of people to reveal the bad news.

Complaints of "shambles" could be heard by some disgruntled fans. "They were letting people buy four tickets each but it should have been two," said one.

The final three tickets were scooped by three young men who couldn't believe their luck.

"What are the odds of that?" Nathan Bell (20) said to his brother Ryan and friend Matthew Montgomery.

Belfast Telegraph


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