Croke Park GAA ticket allocation just 16%

Despite an extra late allocation of Nally Stand tickets to the Donegal County Board yesterday, frustrated Donegal GAA fans are scouring the country as they search in vain for the elusive ticket that will gain them access to Croke Park this Sunday, as Donegal and Dublin go head-to-head in the All Ireland senior football semi final.

Despite an extra late allocation of Nally Stand tickets to the Donegal County Board yesterday, frustrated Donegal GAA fans are scouring the country as they search in vain for the elusive ticket that will gain them access to Croke Park this Sunday, as Donegal and Dublin go head-to-head in the All Ireland senior football semi final.

Despite an extra late allocation of Nally Stand tickets to the Donegal County Board yesterday, frustrated Donegal GAA fans are scouring the country as they search in vain for the elusive ticket that will gain them access to Croke Park this Sunday, as Donegal and Dublin go head-to-head in the All Ireland senior football semi final.

The 13,500 tickets allocated to the county board were snapped up with enthusiasm by the county’s 40 clubs leaving the game the first ‘sell-out’ of the year at GAA headquarters. Based on a capacity of 82,000 punters, Donegal’s allocation would amount to just under 17% of the total Croke Park allocation. It is understood that the initial allocation was as low as 8,000, until GAA officials here indicated that the demand would be much greater. Meanwhile, County Secretary Aodh Máirtín Ó’Fearraigh has assured this paper that all orders from clubs have been catered for and that the quality of tickets going to GAA members is better than any that have been made available on-line.

“I have contacted Croke Park with issues raised by club secretaries and they have assured us that the best quality tickets are being distrubuted to the competing counties in the semi-finals,” he said.

His comments follow complaints from club secretaries that GAA club members were being forced to buy tickets that were allocated to the county board, while non-members could access tickets from a number of sources including SuperValu, Centra, Ticketmaster, tickets.ie and the GAA’s own website. He added that late requests for tickets were now mainly coming from non-club members and that ticket deals were also exclusive to GAA clubs.

But Donegal GAA County Administrator, Noreen Doherty, said that she had not seen such unbridled enthusiasm since the lead up to the final of 1992. She told the paper: “It’s simply a sell-out. We have never dealt with such a high demand for tickets since 1992. It’s incredible; the buzz and excitement is everywhere to be seen. It seems that everybody wants to go to the game, which is great.”

She was unaware of how many tickets the Dublin GAA County Board had been allocated, but Donegal had been on to Croke Park from the moment they knew tickets would be flying off the griddle like pancakes on Pancake Tuesday. Asked why this semi final as opposed to our last in 2003 was such an attraction she opined: “We are Ulster champions, we are playing Dublin in the semi final, evoking memories of ‘92 and then there was the breathtaking spectacle of the last ten minutes of the game with Kildare.” Ironically, in the 1992 Donegal Democrat All-Ireland final supplement, there is a picture of then Dublin player, Dessie Farrell, holding the front page of the Democrat, with the lead story declaring: “GAA in ticket tug as meagre quota confirmed.” The more things change . . .