Football

GAA confirm 'mechanical pump' contributed to supporter pile-up

Supporters of four counties were caught in the main concourse of Croke Park at Sunday's Tailteann Cup double header.  photo: Kevin McKernan
Supporters of four counties were caught in the main concourse of Croke Park at Sunday's Tailteann Cup double header. photo: Kevin McKernan Supporters of four counties were caught in the main concourse of Croke Park at Sunday's Tailteann Cup double header. photo: Kevin McKernan

The GAA have confirmed that a mechanical issue contributed to a pile-up of supporters under the Hogan Stand at Croke Park during Tailteann Cup semi-final double-header.

The stadium had been partly-closed for the two matches involving Meath, Antrim, Down and Laois and although there wasn't likely to be a full house, concerns were raised by the supporter safety after images shared on social media showed a build-up of supporters on a concourse under the Hogan Stand.

Meath defeated Antrim in the early throw-in, with Down thrashing Laois 8-16 to 2-12 to book their place in the decider.

However, the day of football was marred by the build-up of supporters leaving and entering the stadiums in the period between the games.

Former Down player Kevin McKernan later said on social media: "What unfolded between the two games was a logistical failure from the GAA.

"No reserved seating, three-quarters of the stadium empty but four counties squeezed into the Lower Hogan (stand) was mayhem and, quite frankly, scary."

There were also multiple reports of limited access to toilets for supporters, with queues affecting the movement of fans through GAA HQ.

The GAA confirmed to the Irish News that "the failure of a mechanical pump" contributed to the pile-up of supporters between the two semi-finals.

A spokesperson said: "There was incident involving the failure of a mechanical pump yesterday which led to the closure of a number of toilets.

"Additional toilets were opened but it did impact on the movement of patrons as supporters were directed away from the busiest part of the concourse."

  • Read more: Down captain Pierce Laverty proud and confident - but still wary about Meath
Down coach Mickey Donnelly said that Ceilum Doherty (left) should be OK after going off against Laois due to a head injury. Picture Seamus Loughran
Down coach Mickey Donnelly said that Ceilum Doherty (left) should be OK after going off against Laois due to a head injury. Picture Seamus Loughran Down coach Mickey Donnelly said that Ceilum Doherty (left) should be OK after going off against Laois due to a head injury. Picture Seamus Loughran

McKernan added: "One game finished, (there was a) mass exodus from those in the stadium, supporters waiting to get in were told they had to wait in overcrowded walkways. How was this allowed to happen in this day and age?"

The GAA spokesperson said: "Gardaí, stewards and Customer Care took a proactive approach to address congested areas and we would like to acknowledge the cooperation and patience of supporters in the Lower Hogan Stand."