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'Don't spook us,' players beg the fans

DUBLIN fans are being urged not to launch a pitch invasion if their team win because it "spooks" the players.

Croke Park bosses are determined not to allow a stampede of supporters from either side on to the hallowed turf after the match.

Stadium director Peter McKenna told the Herald that while the fans might love the tradition, the players don't want it.

"We're appealing to people not to come on to the pitch. I was talking to Pat Gilroy about it and he said the players dislike it when people come on to the pitch and pat you on the back when you're just exhausted," he explained.

"We're asking people to allow the players the space. It spooks them and makes them nervous if people come on to the pitch. And we're confident we'll get a positive reaction from fans on this.

"The barrier (on Hill 16) is a huge deterrent and it'll go a long way to helping us achieve this. You're looking at one of the biggest, if not the biggest, sporting events in Europe. The noise and the atmosphere will be enormous."


Mr McKenna has revealed that demand for tickets has been so intense that they could easily have sold 120,000 seats.

The lucky 82,000 who do get golden tickets have been promised a day to remember.

The GAA can expect a massive windfall if Dublin can clinch their first All Ireland since 1995.

Peter McKenna says the Blue flags and bunting around Croke Park are creating the biggest buzz around an All-Ireland final in years.

"The energy given off if Dublin win would be incredible and the city would be alive for the whole night. It would be like a massive debs night for the whole city.

"Every single ticket has been begged, borrowed and stealed. We easily could have sold 120,000.

"There's been extraordinary demand from people, and the phones are constantly ringing to see if we've any returned tickets."

Some 2,300 waiters, chefs, security guards, gardai, stewards, ushers and grounds people will be working in the stadium tomorrow.