Saturday 16 December 2017

Touts demand €2,000 for pair of final tickets

The Kingdom turns Dublin green and gold as fans arrive for today's eagerly awaited battle

LEAVING FOR BATTLE: Johnny Buckley (centre) and the Kerry senior football team depart Killarney bound for Dublin yesterday for the All-Ireland final with Dublin. Photo: Neil Dinnen
LEAVING FOR BATTLE: Johnny Buckley (centre) and the Kerry senior football team depart Killarney bound for Dublin yesterday for the All-Ireland final with Dublin. Photo: Neil Dinnen

Daniel MCConnell

Black market tickets for today's mouthwatering All-Ireland final clash between the aristocrats of gaelic football were being offered for €2,000 a pair yesterday.

That's despite a warning from the GAA that they will cancel tickets that have been sold above face value.

The exodus of Kerry fans began in earnest yesterday, as they seek their 38th All-Ireland crown. Dublin are chasing their 25th title.

But the tradition of the Kerry team arriving at Heuston Station to be greeted by Kerrymen exiled in the capital has been broken.

Instead, the train carrying the men wearing the green and gold stopped at Park West in the west of the city and the squad and management discreetly boarded coaches to bring them to their hotel.

A worldwide audience will tune into today's finals and Croke Park will be packed with nearly 83,000 fans.

Among them will be Gary Kinsella, from Coolock, Dublin who said he was "over the moon" to win the Independent.ie tickets for the final.

He's hoping that Dublin can break Kerry hearts but is wary of the Kingdom.

"These are two evenly matched sides. It's going to be a great occasion. I'm delighted to be going," he said.

From early yesterday morning, in towns like Tralee, Dingle and Killarney, thousands of fans began their trek in the hope of reclaiming the Sam Maguire.

Gardai have planned a major operation to ease traffic congestion, fearing more delays than usual because of Luas roadworks around the capital.

Drumcondra will have a number of road closures.

Come 3.30pm today, majestic Croke Park will be full to capacity, and the waiting will be over.

The titans of the game will collide, with those watching hoping they see a classic.

Shakespeare famously wrote: "We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep."

Days like today are special and cut to the core of what it means to be Irish.

GAA fans who could not get a ticket for Croker can attend the big Outdoor Screening of the All-Ireland Minor and Senior Football Finals at Smithfield Plaza, from 1.00pm to 6.00pm. This is a family event and a strictly alcohol-free area. Access to the Smithfield Plaza is strictly by the New Church Street entrance to the east of the Square, off Bow Street.

Those attending are advised to obey the event signage and stewards' instructions. Fans are also advised to arrive early to get a good vantage point and to be prepared for changeable weather.

Sunday Independent

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