Into the final days before the All Ireland Final, the search for tickets gets more intense but also crytallises around the distribution of where those tickets can be found.
All week in GAA Clubs in Dublin, Kerry, Cork and Galway there have been a variety of means whereby the vast majority of the available tickets are distributed to those who generally put the most into the sport.
Around 14,000 tickets will have been allocated to each of the Dublin and Kerry County Boards, as well as roughly another 3,000 to each of Cork and Galway who contest the Minor Championhip decider.
Each county makes its own decision on distribution of those tickets with clubs the prime means of getting them into the hands of fans.
Some will give them to officers, mentors and volunteers within the club. Others will stage a Member’s Draw open to all who have paid their dues for the year. Some will favour players, all will use them as an opportunity to reward those who have put the most into ensuring the grassroots health of the sport.
So where do the rest of the tickets go? 5,000 this year are set aside for the Croke Park Season Ticket scheme. Dublin has 3,500 that bought in down the year and is fully subscribed. Kerry’s is smaller at around 1,500. These are on top of the County allocation.
In addition to the competing counties, many thousands more will find their way to every club in the country and across Europe and around the world. These are for fans of the sport as opposed to the fans of the particular teams and in this year of potential historic achievement, there are many who will want to be there for themselves.
In total last year the number of tickets distributed through Counties amounted to just under 60,000. Many of the ‘country’ tickets found their way to Dublin hands last year with fewer connections between Tyrone and the wider GAA community than would be boasted or claimed by Kerry.
Many of this year’s tickets will also be given to fans of Kerry or Dublin in return for undying affection or various other favours in kind.
There is much talk at this time of year of the GAA ‘family’ and very few of those who will take their place in the stands and on the hill on Sunday will be from outside that notional ‘tribe’.
Their are the Premium seats, the box holders and the GAA Championship sponsors who will have their allocation. there are some who resent their being there but without them the GAA and the stadium in which we will gather would be a smaller and much more parochial entity.
There is also a significant number that goes into the education system through third level institutions and Cumman na mBunscoil.
The Hurling Championship Final saw the realease of some tickets back from Kilkenny this year which went in general sale in the week before. That is a rarity and will certainly not happen this year.
If someone offers you tickets that you’ve never met in exchange for money over the face value, walk on by. The chances are they are fake and the ticketing technology used by Sport for Business member Tickets.ie will see you are refused entry.
They are the Golden ticket. They will generally find their way into the right hands. If you get one the system is brilliant, if you don’t it could be improved. That’s sport, that’s life, now where’s the number for that long lost cousin in West Cork…