Restricted attendance under the Dome for FBD games

Photo: Connacht GAA

When it was announced a few weeks back that all of January’s FBD League games would be played in the Air Dome at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, it was in the anticipation that a few thousand punters would be able to attend. Connacht GAA’s website states that the facility can cater for in excess of 2,000 patrons at matches.

That, however, was then. The recently announced Covid-19 restrictions have put in a spanner in the works, because they place significant constraints on attendance levels at indoor events.

Colm Keys in the Irish Independent today is reporting (here) that attendance levels for the FBD matches in the Dome next month are set to be capped at a measly 300. This is based on the stipulation that attendance at indoor events must be cut to 50% of seated capacity and there are 600 seats in the Dome.

Connacht GAA already had plans to stream all the games live and so it would now appear that this will be the only way for supporters to see this year’s FBD matches. On the one hand, this is disappointing, as it’s always good to sample some live pre-season action early in the New Year but, on the other, Covid still is a concern and the option to watch all of the matches online isn’t, in truth, the worst outcome either.

19 thoughts on “Restricted attendance under the Dome for FBD games

  1. Clearly they are short of 1,400 seats then, something they should be organizing asap to get the attendance up from 300 to 1,000.

  2. I doubt it’s that simple. If it were possible to have more seated capacity it probably would be in there already, I don’t imagine it’d be a straightforward job to add 1,400 temporary seats when there are only 600 there now.

  3. @Willie Joe, there’s definitely the room there, at the moment they have “mini” stands which seat 100 and they have 6 of those which are movable and they are all on one side of the dome so getting the seating set up is easy, the issue is probably more of sourcing the seating at the moment I would say.

  4. I’d say sourcing would definitely be an issue. I couldn’t see them being able to more than double the seating capacity at such short notice, if at all.

  5. Even if they hypothetically could actually double the seating within that timeframe there’s always the possibility (perhaps more likely the “probability” – sadly) of added restrictions in that time (Omicron is well and truly here now and we’re likely to have high case numbers heading into January – but hopefully more minor illness) which would make the effort completely redundant

    Hopefully this doesnt extend to outdoor events by February but this blasted virus can change things on an almost instant basis

  6. I see our newly elected chairman has issued a statement, congratulating the team and management on a very successful year, expressing disappointment on losing the final and asking for support for the manager and players in the team coming year.
    James Horan responded in kind.

  7. That’s right, John McHale – the statement is available here:

    There’s been a bit of press coverage on the statement, in the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner and The 42. It’s been noted in these pieces that a statement of this kind isn’t a common occurrence and that’s true. But, then again, neither is a sustained campaign of personal abuse on social media, which, at least in part, appears to have given rise to the statement.

  8. Am I naive – why can’t FBD matches be moved to outdoor venues? We all could go, we all could pay, Connacht Council would earn revenue.

  9. I think these games are supposed to be the big launch for the dome. Probably hoping any lost revenue from tickets will be made up by streaming.

  10. If the capacity of the Dome is 2000 [600 seated and 1400 standing] I would suggest that the maximum seated capacity would be something short of 1300 on the basis that one seat takes at least as much room as two standing spaces. So jamming extra seats in when capacity is limited to 50% under Covid regs. would only give you an extra 350 max attendance. Hardly worth the effort even if seats could be got at short notice. My guess is that they would have to be manufactured specifically for the job. What would you do with them when the Covid business is over, as it will eventually be?

  11. @Catcol the common sense approach would be to move them outdoors to provincial grounds especially in these covid times and more so now when only 300 is allowed to attend inside the dome, however John Prenty is determined to get the best advertisement possible for his dome and none better than a inter County competition.

  12. I agree Catcol. Why are these games not being played in Charlestown or Ballina. Why are Mayo county board or the other counties of the province not calling this out. Play these games outside where true fans can watch their favourite teams unhindered by the drudgery of what we are living through and give us some semblance of a life well lived. Happy Christmas all, not sure we’ll all be able to watch our favourite team the way we used to in the near future.

  13. The problem with adding seats to the Dome is twofold.

    One, as Willie Joe points out is sourcing the seats.

    The second is the Dome may not have airlocks capable of loading in the new stands without deflating and reflating the Dome which is a costly maneuver.

  14. I think the fbd games should be played outside in a pitch if the weather allows it and all of us supporters can attend the matches. if the pitches are unplayable or weather is very bad then by all means use the dome.

  15. @Al McGuire, no issue with getting seating in as its a modular system and there are companies who will hire out this type of tiered seating in Ireland.

    The daft part about all this is that there is capacity for 2,000 so why is there an issue with seating 600, that means that if you wanted to seat 1,000 you would need to rent another 1,400 seats knowing that 700 of them are going to be empty so who would even bother hiring out seating if you have to leave it empty anyway.

  16. Outdoor games in January are a lottery. Remember the game that was called off at the last minute a few years ago

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