The desperate hunt for precious All-Ireland tickets in Waterford is such that it is already clear it would take a miracle of loaves and fishes dimensions to satisfy demand.
Under pressure County GAA Secretary John O’Leary is of the opinion that close to 50,000 would be sold if they were available. “The situation is not only unprecedented, it is unimaginable”, he said. “The hunger for tickets – and for an All-Ireland – is palpable”.
The fact is that the official allocation from Croke Park will total less than 15,000, 10,000 stand tickets already having arrived, most of them for distribution to the county’s 50 clubs – a relatively small number will go to the players, GAA staff, county board members and various committees.
On top of that “about 4,500” terrace tickets will come in batches, also for distribution to the clubs. The latter are €35 each and the stand tickets €70, which is more than reasonable for such a massive occasion.
Conscious of the insatiable demand, Mr. O’Leary has written to all other county board secretaries requesting that left-over tickets be forwarded to Waterford. “I’m hopeful we will get a positive response, from some of the predominantly football counties at least”, he commented. Those tickets would also be passed on to the hard pressed clubs; the secretary doesn’t envisage any going on sale direct to the public.
Kilkenny fans are well used to seeking out final tickets and although many find themselves (almost annually) waiting anxiously until close to the big day, they invariably get fixed up. This year, however, it will be even tighter than usual and there’s many a regular attendee who will be sweating until late on.
Where the tickets go
For the record, this is how the tickets were distributed for the Kilkenny v Cork final in 2006. The capacity was 82,300, which left 67,488 for general circulation after deduction of 10,528 Premium and Box tickets, 4,143 long term Cusack Stand tickets and 141 “miscellaneous”.
That 67,488 were distributed as follows: Competing Counties, 26,028; Other Counties, 24,422; Extra Allocation for Competing Counties, 5,777; Ard Comhairle, 786; Former Presidents, 641; Provincial Councils, 385; Handball, 162; Camogie, 120; Ladies Football, 140; Overseas, 520; Educational Bodies, 2,518; Public Representatives, 132; Staff and Sub-Committees, 1,466; Sponsors, 679; Ard Stiurthoir, 326; Media, 245; Players, 540; Minor Players, 70; Jubilee Teams, 313; Inter-County Panels, 1,920; Pairc an Chrocaigh Ltd., 198; Match Officials, 58; National Referees Panel, 42.
Meanwhile, County Board PRO Joe Cleary has alerted the public to people unconnected to the GAA seeking to cash in on the hurlers’ achievements. “At the moment”, he said, “the board is not in the process of printing team calendars, posters, etc. If approaches are made by people selling team photos, or looking for sponsorship on behalf of the board, please be aware that these are unofficial and monies gathered won’t be of benefit to the players. Information will be relayed through the local media when official memorabilia is available”.
On the team front, there are no injuries to report from the Waterford camp, despite intensive training continuing under Davy Fitzgerald. The side for the final is likely to be named next Thursday night.