Rush for Olympic seats as our stars qualify
Thousands of Irish sport fans have already applied for tickets to watch the 2012 Olympics.
However a ticket rush is not expected until next month when more of our athletes qualify for the games.
At present only two Irish sportspeople have been confirmed as part of the Irish Olympics team, but the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) expects that as many as 45 top athletes will represent the country next year.
"Very few Irish have qualified so friends and relations don't know yet whether they need to go or not so they wouldn't have got tickets," an OCI spokesman told the Herald.
"At this point only two Irish athletes have definitely qualified; both of them are race walkers -- Robert Heffernan and Olive Loughnane.
"There are others on the verge of qualification -- including swimmer Grainne Murphy -- the main qualification events will start from next month on so that will be when people will start showing their interest in tickets for events.
"Katie Taylor will have to either qualify this autumn at the World Championships or at the qualifying tournament early next year but strictly speaking she hasn't qualified yet."
According to THG Sports Tours, the ticketing agency for the 2012 Olympics appointed by the OCI, ticket preferences have already emerged, which could suggest that certain events will quickly become oversubscribed by the Irish public.
"As expected strong demand from the Irish public has been experienced for tickets for a wide range of sessions such as athletics, swimming, cycling, boxing and equestrian ahead of London 2012," a spokeswoman confirmed.
Ireland will be given a quota of seats for each event, which will be determined according to demand as well as the size of the population in relation to other countries.
Although the Olympic torch is expected to come to the Republic of Ireland next year because some of the training will take place here and the OCI is involved in the preparations, the Irish public will be treated like every other country -- except Britain.
The quota of seats dedicated to sports fans living in Britain is bound to be higher than for other countries as it will host the event.
"We will be treated as foreign -- we are involved but we are definitely seen as separate by the International Olympics Committee -- we are in the other ticket section unfortunately, along with 203 other countries," an OCI spokesman said.
The first round of UK-based applications was revealed this week. An estimated 250,000 of the 1.8 million people who applied have not received a single seat after events were oversubscribed.