Belfast Telegraph

Season showpiece could be a bloodbath, says Portadown secretary Bill Emerson

By Graham Luney

Portadown officials have expressed fears of a possible "bloodbath" at The Oval due to ticket arrangements for the Irish Cup final against Glentoran on Saturday, May 2.

The emotive language underlines growing concerns at Shamrock Park that some Glens fans may use Ticketmaster to gain admission to the Portadown end.

Glentoran brought more than 5,000 fans to the Irish Cup decider against Cliftonville at Windsor Park in 2013 but their allocation for this season's showpiece is expected to be well down on that figure, leaving many supporters disappointed.

Ports officials have now highlighted "grave security concerns" for such a big game when there needs to be strict segregation to minimise the threat of crowd trouble.

"We have a perfect track record in terms of handling our own ticket sales for past cup finals and feel that is the best way to guarantee the safety of our supporters," club secretary Bill Emerson said.

"We have made our feelings clear in an e-mail to both the Irish Football Association and PSNI.

"Regrettably, there is a history of trouble in games between the clubs and the Ticketmaster system cannot regulate distribution.

"This is a unique situation but one which could end up, to be blunt, in a bloodbath.

"We strongly feel control within the club will cut out that threat.

"It is a one-way risk as the Portadown allocation will meet our own demand but hundreds could miss out on a ticket for the Glentoran section.

"We also have concerns with security outside The Oval after the match but the main issue relates to ticket distribution."

Around 3,000 tickets have been assigned to the Portadown support for The Oval.

Derry City will face Shamrock Rovers in the quarter-finals of the EA Sports Cup at the Brandywell next month.

The tie will be played on either May 18 or 19.

The sides met in the league last week with the game ending in a scoreless draw.

Belfast Telegraph


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