The GAA Ulster Council has postponed making a decision on whether to allow Derry’s home Championship clash with Down go ahead during the Walled City Marathon.
Organisers of the marathon, the first to be held in the city since 1985, have appealed to Ulster Council to rethink the timing of the fixture amid fears of traffic chaos as thousands of fans are expected to travel to the city.
The Walled City Marathon will see an extensive traffic management plan in place which will include the closure of Foyle Road, a section of Lonemoor Road and the lower deck of the Craigavon Bridge as more than 1,100 runners take to the streets on June 2.
Upwards of 15,000 spectators are expected to attend the Celtic Park clash in the early afternoon, prompting fears that many fans will be caught up in traffic gridlock in the city.
The Ulster Council had announced that it would look at the possibility of a time change for the match at Celtic Park on January 17.
The council then decided to postpone making a decision until the next meeting of its Competitions Control Committee in February.
Walled City Marathon Race Director Noel McMonagle told the ‘Journal’ that he believes a “favourable outcome for all” will be forthcoming. We are very positive we will get a settlement on this which will suit everyone,” he said.
SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan, called on the Ulster Council to address the concerns of the marathon organisers and Derry football fans. “The clash with the Championship match is unfortunate as the huge additional volume of traffic that it will generate is sure to create headaches for runners, marshals, police and Roads Service. It will also be difficult for matchgoers to find parking spaces.”
Entry for the Walled City Marathon has now closed with more than 1,100 places secured.