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Ticket rush begins to gather pace as 'sold out' signs posted

DONEGAL and Mayo have both posted the 'sold out' signs and warned supporters who are still desperately chasing tickets to try their luck elsewhere.

The Ulster champions received 14,715 tickets -- 12,362 of which were sent out to the clubs -- but they were all sold and distributed by last Thursday night.

Donegal are particularly pessimistic about the chances of getting any more given the huge neutral interest in the novel All-Ireland SFC final pairing.

"We tried to look for swaps with hurling counties before that final but had no luck and it looks unlikely that we're going to get any returns either at this stage," Donegal secretary Aodh Mairtin O Fearraigh said.

When a county does not use up its All-Ireland ticket allocation it usually returns them to Croke Park for redistribution.

The fact that tickets are now distributed electronically and printed locally means the 'returns' system has become much more efficient in recent years.

But Donegal have accepted that there is so much interest from non-participating counties in this weekend's senior decider that they are unlikely to pick up any 'returns' at all.

Mayo have not yet put an official figure on their allocation, saying they are still distributing the last of it, but it is believed to be roughly the same as Donegal's.

Mayo secretary Kevin O'Toole said yesterday that no matter how many tickets they got, it would be "insufficient for the demand".

He said they have distributed 80pc of them already through the clubs. According to O'Toole, Mayo have now turned to distributing their players' allocation and also to the 890 members of Chairde Maigheo, the official Mayo supporters' club who are each entitled to buy one ticket.

Mayo have already made a commitment to set aside one ticket each for anyone who has previously played senior championship football for the county.

They estimate this to be 250 past players, but O'Toole stressed they would only receive a ticket if they had not already got one.

Meanwhile, Croke Park officials are expected to announce today the identity of the referee for the All-Ireland SHC final replay between Kilkenny and Galway on Sunday week.

Barry Kelly was in charge for the drawn encounter and while the Westmeath official has not been ruled out of the second instalment, sources indicate that a new man will be in charge.

Irish Independent