Saturday 18 November 2017

It wouldn't be All-Ireland week without annual panic

"Any tickets?"

Michael McCarthy

"Any tickets?" The most common phrase you'll hear this week if you work in sports media.

No, I don't. I'm searching high and low myself. We don't have a big envelope of them ready to give away because you once did a day's work with my second cousin. Sorry.

It's all part of the wonderful Irish tradition of sourcing tickets for All-Ireland final day. The most reserved of fans will grow a new neck for two weeks and look for the most brazen of favours. When Clare played Kilkenny in the 2002 All-Ireland hurling final, I remember being on the verge of giving up when my uncle muscled his way through a crowded pub in Dorset Street about an hour before throw-in, a prized ticket raised high above his head.

I've no idea how he got it. He wouldn't tell me.

I was sitting on my own in the Canal End, surrounded by Kilkenny fans, but sure I was in. The classic All-Ireland ticket rush. Sheer panic, sweet relief.

In the end, they always seem to show up if you're willing to go all in and wait until the bitter end. You'll get a lot of refusals, but if enough seeds are planted, when the extra tickets show up, someone will think of you.

Just don't ask me for any.

Irish Independent

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