Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Down fans facing All-Ireland final tickets scramble

Down fans keen to see their county heroes in action are scrambling to get their hands on tickets for Sunday’s All-Ireland final in Dublin.

Croke Park will be awash with black and red as the Mournemen take on Cork in this year’s GAA Senior Football final.

It’s exactly 50 years since Down first captured the Sam Maguire trophy, and members of the 1960 team will be their as guests along with members of the Kerry team they played.

The golden jubilee anniversary is providing another reason for the huge demand for tickets, which are like gold dust.

Croke Park holds 83,000 people and there is a complex breakdown of the distribution of tickets. Sponsors, referees, schools, committees and other interested parties all receive tickets.

On the day fans will converge on Dublin from the 48 clubs in Co Down who have been allocated in the region of 13,000 tickets between them, while their opponents Cork will be allocated around 19,000, as they have 261 clubs in their county.

Down County Board chairman Seamus Walsh told the Belfast Telegraph he would be trying to accommodate the fans who showed loyalty in the darkest depths of winter when James McCartan was cutting his teeth as manager and nobody thought Down had much of a chance.

“Everybody, but everybody wants a ticket,” said Seamus.

“We set out the criteria early on, looking at club memberships, tickets bought for previous matches and the number of teams and other GAA activity. Those with proof of attendance will be accommodated before everyone else.

“Cork lost the hurling semi-final, so they are feeling the pressure and have the hunger to do well. It would be the icing on the cake for Down to take the championship.

Mr Walsh added: “I am quietly confident, but we certainly know we have a tough battle ahead of us. Cork were favourites before a ball was even thrown at the start of the year.

“We celebrated the golden jubilee this year at our National Congress, but a win on Sunday would be a nice way to top it all off.”

Sean Og McAteer from Down’s administration board said demand for tickets was high and fans are expected to flood in from all over the world. People travelling from America, Australia and various parts of Asia will be descending on Croke Park for the highlight of the GAA calendar.

“It’s hectic in the office but great at the same time. We are working hard to ensure the genuine fans will be in Croke Park on Sunday,” he said.

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