Box-office finalists short on tickets
Published 13/09/2011 | 05:00
TICKET-MANIA for Sunday's All-Ireland final is such that the participating counties are not expected to pick up any 'spares' from non-participating counties.
Kerry chairman Jerome Conway has described the demand as "unprecedented" and called it a "loaves and fishes" situation.
And it is believed that some clubs in Dublin have already been stung by gambling on swapping tickets with traditional hurling counties.
They purchased tickets for the Kilkenny/Tipperary clash believing they could sell them to outside hurling interests and then get to buy their football allocations in return, a regular occurrence among counties ahead of the All-Ireland finals.
But they got left with them because the hurling was not a sell-out and are now hit on the double because so few football 'returns' are expected, due to the massive neutral interest in a Kerry/Dublin decider.
Kerry will receive the same number of tickets that they received for other recent finals (approximately 11,000).
Dublin clubs, who are used to getting between 250 to 400 tickets for the earlier championship rounds, are about to discover that getting to the final for the first time in 16 years actually means getting half that amount, or even less.
This is because the GAA provides tickets to all of its units on All-Ireland final day, including schools and overseas, which considerably lessens the number of tickets available to the participating counties.
Dublin will get more tickets than Kerry because their minors are also involved, but their allocation is still not expected to exceed 18,000 and city GAA chiefs will allocate them on a graded system, based on the number of teams that clubs field.
Tipperary have received 2,000 stand and 600 terrace tickets because their minors are involved in the curtain-raiser.
But that is very small compared to the 15,000 (10,000 stand and 5,000 terrace) the Premier County got for participating in the All-Ireland senior hurling final.
A sell-out crowd of 82,300 is expected but, between complementaries and long-term ticket sales, just over 59,000 go on sale to the public through local GAA boards and clubs.
"It is unprecedented in many ways, because it's the first Kerry and Dublin All-Ireland final since 1985 and when these two counties meet, it's a big box-office draw," Kerry chairman Jerome Conway said.
"It's a case of the loaves and fishes really, and we do the best with what we have. We put tickets aside for schemes that we run but, at the same time, clubs are getting the same amount of tickets that they have in previous years."
Participating counties are usually confident of getting an extra allocation later in the week when other counties return unsold tickets, but Croke Park believes there will be little or none of these due to huge neutral interest in the game.
The GAA's 'season ticket', which costs €75 initially, gives supporters who attend 60pc of their county's games this year, the option to purchase All-Ireland final tickets.
The number of season-ticket holders this year more than doubled, from 764 in 2010 to 2000 and the GAA have said that all have taken up their 'first option' to buy final tickets.