Courtesy Ed Donnelly, Tipperary County Board PRO

The Tipperary County Board recently received a report on the Crowd Control issues in the Blackrock Terrace at Pairc Ui Chaoimh during the Munster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final between Tipperary and Cork on June 8th 2008. The report was compiled with the assistance of the Munster Council, Cork County Board and the Gardai. The report explains that theories about patrons from the City End Terrace entering the Blackrock Terrace don’t stand up given that the Blackrock Terrace has a capacity of 12,000 and 11,700 patrons entered the styles on the day. 38,500 tickets were pre-sold for the event with an extra 4,000 sold on the day. With 40 minutes to throw-in, less than 20,000 patrons had entered the stadium. While the process of getting everyone through the styles safely was achieved just after the throw-in of the Senior game, the task of “getting late comers safely into the spacious areas around the Blackrock Terrace proved impossible”.

One of the main issues involved was that many patrons on the terrace were sitting down and many attempts were made to get them to stand up. The 50 Stewards on duty, supported by the 12 Gardai personnel in addition to 2 sergeants and 1 inspector on the Blackrock terrace worked diligently to keep the yellow passage ways clear on the terrace and this was achieved just up to throw-in time. The report explains that when the Senior game began, the volume of patrons still entering the Blackrock terrace and stepping on to the yellow passage ways “made the job of Stewards and Gardai almost if not totally impossible”. Patrons entering at this stage were distracted by the events on the pitch which slowed their movements and caused a back-up of people on the yellow passage ways. Up to 200 patrons were corralled under the Blackrock Terrace and those at the front pushed towards the gate to the field at the corner of the terrace, creating a nervous experience for all those involved. This happened after the game had begun allowing no opportunity to take any remedial action such as delaying the game.

The reports goes on to explain – “In the interests of the health and safety of the patrons and more especially as young children were present, the Gardai and Head Steward present in the area took the decision to allow patrons exit from this area into the field area. This presented a more safe option than attempting to regain the yellow lines in a short period and deposit patrons safely on the terrace”. Extra stewards and Gardai were deployed to this area to ensure the health and safety of patrons and to ensure no disruption to the game in progress. A human chain was formed between Gardai and Stewards to successfully achieve both aims at once. The ultimate conclusion of the report was that “what happened on the day was unavoidable in the circumstances and that the decisions taken were the correct ones which avoided a more possible serious incident and any danger to patrons, players or officials.” The deployment of Stewards and Gardai and their positioning on the Terraces in the light of the experiences on June 8th have been revised for future matches of this nature.

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