Mayo GAA officials and supporters have been left "disappointed" with the scheduling of their qualifiers clash at Pairc Esler.
The fans claim the seven pm throw-in time will mean many are making their way home in the early hours of the morning. A round trip to Newry for some Mayo supporters will take as much as nine hours.
Mayo Officials had requested a throw-in time of 3 pm to facilitate their travelling fans. However, the PSNI have concerns about traffic congestion in Newry on a busy Saturday afternoon. Connacht GAA Council Secretary and member of the Central Competitions Control Committee John Prenty noted the high volume of fixtures on June 22nd. Down hurlers are in action in the Christy Ring final at Croke Park, throwing in at two o’clock. He told Mayo News “Normally the Christy Ring Final would be at a later time, but we decided to put that for 2 pm so that their supporters will make it to Newry and likewise with the Nicky Rackard Final”.
While mayo PRO Paul Cunninane said "We would be surprised and disappointed the game has been scheduled for 7 pm when you consider the larger number of fans that go to Mayo games and particularly the large number of families and people with children," the reasons for the fixture scheduling are quite clear.
Allied to the fixture congestion and were Down not in action on the day, the PSNI do not want Newry’s traffic to be added to on a busy Saturday afternoon. John Prenty Said “If there was no involvement from Down in the hurling, it still wouldn’t have been on at 5 pm or 6 pm because of the PSNI,” he noted. “Newry on a Saturday evening is a very, very busy place and the PSNI would not want a match at the earlier time because they want the shoppers to be gone before the influx of supporters starting arriving.”
There was also no prospect of the game being held on Sunday the 23rd as the Ulster final is on in Clones, with Down in the under-20 game at that venue.
The predicted crowd of 15,000 for a first Championship meeting between the sides could be in danger with many Mayo fans expressing disappointment with the decision on social media.
Hey @officialgaa, want to see in black and white the folly of your throw in time decision for Down v @MayoGAA? Not one Mayo fan has an issue with being drawn away to Down. That’s our lot for not beating Roscommon. What we have an issue with is the decision to fix it at 7.00pm. pic.twitter.com/5i5ZYc6WtT
— Richie Heneghan (@RichieHeneghan) June 12, 2019