IT'S set to be a busy few weeks for all those involved in Kerry Ladies GAA as last Saturday's victory against Galway in the All-Ireland Senior semi-final saw Kerry book their place in the Ladies senior decider for the first time since 1993.
Taking a break from a meeting on Monday night to speak to The Kerryman, Kerry Ladies Chairman Donal Barry spoke of his delight at the team finally making it to Croke Park after their third consecutive appearance in an All-Ireland semi-final.
"We've been threatening to do it over the last number of years since William (O'Sullivan) got involved. We were unlucky to lose out two years ago after a replay, while last year we just came up against a better team. However, we've always felt that the talent and indeed the players were there to do it and they've finally got their reward in that sense," he said.
This All-Ireland appearance against either Cork or Monaghan marks a pretty successful year for the female game in the county, following an All-Ireland U16 victory as well as an AllIreland Junior final appearance and Mr Barry said the feeling of goodwill from the achievement has almost been instant.
"I've had clubs contact me about buses and tickets for the final already and the positive PR that this is going to generate over the next few weeks is something we hope to make good use of because we do need to get more young girls out there playing the game. We're hoping for a crowd of roughly 15,000 people from the county to travel on the day to support the team and I would appeal to local businesses and indeed the wider Kerry GAA public to give the team their support because this is something very different and unique," the Ladies Chairman said.
Organisationally this will be a massive undertaking from the Ladies Board, which will see them in close contact with the National Ladies body in the run-up to the final.
"Not too long after we had won the last day, we were given a folder detailing what's expected of us over the coming weeks.
"We will be liaising almost daily with a National coordinator over the next few weeks and we're hoping to put in place a team of about 200 people on the ground to help us with the preparations here in Kerry. At National level the Ladies Board have to pay €250,000 for the use of Croke Park on the day of the finals and there is an expectation on us to sell at least 10,000 tickets.
"The tickets are priced at €25 for adults and only €5 for U-16's and with three finals on the day in question I would be saying to people thinking about going that it is great value for that price in the country's biggest stadium."