The Kildare County Board have apologised to their fans – saying that they will be unable to meet the huge ticket demand for Saturday’s All-Ireland Senior Football Championship round three qualifier with Mayo.

The Lilywhites refused to play the game at a larger venue, with manager Cian O’Neill insisting that they should have home advantage as they were drawn out first in the pairing.

That means that they are playing at the 8,200-capacity St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge, which will be packed to the rafters for this weekend's game (throw-in 7pm).

In a statement, the Kildare County Board said they: "Would like to place on record our heartfelt thanks to the clubs and followers of Kildare GAA, who have been so supportive not just this week but through all good times and bad.

"That is something that we have never taken for granted.

"It is a source of great regret therefore that we will not be able to accommodate the huge demand for tickets among the Kildare GAA public for this game, and thank you for your understanding and patience in this regard.

"We would ask people who do not have a ticket for the match on Saturday not to turn up in Newbridge.

"We reiterate our appreciation of the support for Kildare GAA."

One of the list of reasons that the GAA  gave for fixing the game at Croke Park, a move which led to a 48-hour stand-off between the sides before it being moved to Newbridge, was over fears over ticketless fans turning up in the town.

The stand in St Conleth's Park

Before the Central Competitions Control Committee named originally Croke Park as the venue, Kildare were asked to nominate an alternative venue, such as O’Moore Park in Portlaoise, which would have been able to accommodate the anticipated crowd, an offer they declined.

As well as not being able to meet ticket demand, the Lilies now face being outnumbered by Mayo fans in their own backyard.

Mayo have 3,500 season ticket holders and another 500-or-so will go to players and county board. A further 1,500 tickets are being given to each county board for distribution through their network of clubs.

This means around 5,500 are likely to end up in Mayo hands, and that doesn’t account for the number of Mayo people who live in towns like Celbridge and Leixlip and may be able to buy tickets through their involvement in local clubs.

St Conleth’s Park has become rundown in recent years and a health and safety review slashed the capacity almost in half from 16,000. The Kildare County Board have plans to redevelop their home ground by 2020.

Follow all the GAA action this weekend via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie and the News Now App, watch exclusive television coverage of Clare v Cork, and Galway v Kilkenny on The Sunday Game Live, RTÉ One, from 1.10pm or listen to exclusive national radio commentary of both  games on Sunday Sport, RTÉ Radio 1. Highlights on The Sunday Game at 9.30pm on RTÉ2.