Last weekend’s Football semi-final between Dublin and Mayo could have sold well over 100,000 while the number looking for tickets to the Final on September 1st is a multiple again of that.
But Sunday’s clash between Kilkenny and Tipperary has given a rare opportunity to those outside the club environment to sample what makes it so special.
The GAA distribution of tickets for the biggest of games is primarily through the club network. Despite the anguish expressed by regular attendees at matches last week, everybody who applied through their clubs in Dublin and Mayo was catered for and while that won’t be the case come the final it is still the primary source for tickets.
Each club around the country has some access with the bulk of that going to the counties that are playing.
Clubs across Tipp will have got their share while Kilkenny got more because they are also appearing in the minor Final against Galway.
The population of Kilkenny is just under 100,000 but clearly not everyone in black and amber feels the need to be there again as a limited number of tickets went on general sale at the open training session the team held on Monday night.
Returns from around the country also enabled the rarity of tickets being made available online yesterday afternoon, though the window was a brief one and was limited to terrace tickets on the Nally Stand.
Still, it gave a rare chance to buy without sourcing from the multiple connections that are normally called upon in these circumstances.
It would not have happened in either of the last two years when Galway and then Limerick were on the march. It would certainly not have happened had Wexford got over the line against Tipp in their Semi-Final but the magic of what is new obviously has a shiner aspect than a game that sees the meeting of these two giants for the fifth time this decade.
It won’t be any less of a game for that but it does show that you can never be complacent even when you have the greatest of spectacles with which to attract a crowd.
Image credit: Ramsey Cardy, Sportsfile