'We'll bring our own sandwiches' - but families going to All-Ireland final will still have to pay up to €600 for big day
All-Ireland Final day can be a costly experience for parents, with a family of five paying up to €450 for tickets alone.
Fergal and Fiona McLoughin from Ballyporeen in Tipperary took their three children to the hurling semi-final to watch Tipp beat Wexford, but ticket prices for the final meant it made more sense for just Fergal and the older kids to make the trip to Croke Park this Sunday.
Fergal will be driving to Dublin for Sunday's Tipp v Kilkenny showdown with Ciara (15) and Thomas (13) as well as sharing the lift with two of their cousins.
For all other championship games, the GAA offers concession prices for children at a cost of €5 for under 16s, but discount prices do not apply for the final and a stand ticket goes for €90.
This would mean a hike of €85 per child for the McLoughlins for the same seats in Croke Park.
For families wanting to experience the final, terrace tickets are the more sensible option at €45 per head - but there's no guarantee your child will be able to see the pitch.
This factor is one reason why Conor (8) will not be travelling to Dublin for the hurling final.
“He wouldn’t see a thing in the terrace," Fergal said.
"Thomas is just about tall enough, but Conor wouldn’t have a prayer - especially on a day like that - so it would be a waste.
“I suppose they put the prices up because they know they’ll sell. When you know you’ll sell them all why sell them for a concession price?"
He said that while the terrace has its pitfalls, he believes the stand may be something of a false economy.
“With the terrace, you’re on your feet, that’s the downside, but you still get the game.
"With the stand nothing is guaranteed either and they don’t seem to vary the prices, you could be in the corner of the stand paying €90 so the same as someone who’s sitting in the centre of the field."
Once the tickets are bought, the cost of match day can quickly add up if you want the full experience, Fergal said.
"We got the terrace but for five stand tickets you’re looking at €450 and when you add in food and all the match day things it adds up fast - but you want the kids to have the experience," Fergal said.
“It’s a day out. You're looking at €40 for diesel then you buy the programmes for €5 or €10 and spend another €20 at the stadium on sweets.
“The Tipperary thing is the sandwiches in the tinfoil so that’s the plan for now, but the way things go you always end up stopping for something either way.
"If you stop for something to eat it’s probably nearly €15 a head, then inside you’ve got the crisps and coke and all that."
Fergal estimates that the day out will probably cost over €400 for five people in the terrace and families are looking at closer to €600 if they opt for the stand.
Last week, the GAA came under fire after announcing a €10 hike in tickets for the final, but the organisation has since defended the rise.
"We are a special organisation in that it's an amateur one which is volunteer-led so I think the ticket prices compare very favourably to other organisations," said Alan Milton, GAA communications manager.
"You could still bring a child here to see a game at the weekend for €5 and it stays that price up until the final."