PAIRS of tickets for the All-Ireland final are being sold for over €5,000 online – more than 60 times their cover price – as desperate fans try to ensure they are in Croke Park for the most important football match of the year.
Some supporters in Dublin and Mayo are unhappy with the current allocation system which sees every club in the country given tickets to disperse among members.
Niall Walsh (44), from Swords in Dublin, who has been a lifelong member of the Fingal Ravens club, said there are thousands of Dubs who are desperate to get their hands on a coveted ticket.
"I'm in a draw with a club and have a one-in-six chance of getting a ticket.
"Clubs in non-competing counties are getting tickets and you have Dublin and Mayo supporters who have been to every league match and they can't get any."
Amid the clamour, dozens of tickets are being sold on online auction site eBay. While some are being sold to raise money for charity, others are being sold for profit.
Desperate fans are bidding as much as €5,100 for a pair of tickets.
Broadcaster Ryan Tubridy has secured his own seat for the final – although his relationship with Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain is set to come under strain as the couple put on their opposing county colours.
Tubridy (40) admitted it will prove to be an "interesting" afternoon, but insisted he will remain loyal to the Blues.
"That's going to be a tricky one because I love Mayo, love the west of Ireland and love people from the west," he said.
"I'm going with a Mayo woman so that will be interesting... We're sitting beside each other for starters, but after that I don't know if we'll go home together," Tubridy joked.
Meanwhile, one man who hopes fans will come to him to secure an elusive ticket is DCU chaplain Fr Joe Jones.
While admittedly not a sports fan, he has been praying for the Dubs after a generous benefactor offered him a pair of All-Ireland final tickets to auction to raise money for a project for the university's Inter Faith Centre.
The online auction for the tickets closes at 5pm today and this will set a base price for a live auction at Beaumont House on tomorrow evening when the highest bidder present will get the tickets.
Last night the highest bid was over €600.
By Breda Heffernan and Laura Butler