THE GAA has clarified that the money raised by the decision to throw tonight's All Stars after-party open to the public will go back to players, through their joint-development initiatives with the Gaelic Players' Association (GPA).
Eyebrows have been raised at the decision to sell tickets for the Opel-sponsored All Stars to the public – for the first time ever – at €35 a pop.
For the past two years, corporate tables were sold for the event which took place in the National Convention Centre, but this is the first time individual supporters can buy a ticket to mingle with the country's top players in what is billed the 'All Stars After-Party.'
The annual gala has a completely new format this year when, for the first time in its 42-year history, it will take place in Croke Park. In recent years, the awards were given out first on the live television show, followed by a sit-down meal and entertainment, but it was felt that this format resulted in a particularly lengthy evening.
This time the meal has been abandoned completely and, following the presentations, which will take place live on RTE television (starting at 7.0), they will be followed by the 'after-party' which will take place on Level Four of the Hogan Stand from 8.30 onwards.
Tickets will only give members of the public access to the 'after- party,' but that will form the bulk of the evening.
Supporters will get to mix with the cream of the country's players as all 90 nominees – 45 in each code – are invited to the event.
This year's All Star hurling team was announced in midweek, but the football winners will not be revealed until tonight.
Asked about the decision to let the public pay in, and where that money will be spent, a GAA spokesman said he felt "€35 provides excellent value for what is being offered – there are some who would argue we could be charging a lot more."
He said that the proceeds, like all of the GAA's joint-initiatives with the GPA, will go towards their player development work.
Both bodies formed an initiative, sponsored by PwC, in 2012 that supports a range of player development and welfare initiatives.
Former Dublin footballer Eamonn Fennell – who won a county title at midfield with St Vincent's on Wednesday night – is one of the DJs who will be providing the entertainment tonight, which also includes a live performance from Hermitage Green.
* Tickets are for sale on the GAA's website and tickets.ie and the GAA has stressed that it is an Over-18 event and that the dress code is formal.