Despite stern warnings from the GAA that that any member who sells an All-Ireland final ticket on the black market will face sanctions, if identified, internet sites are continuing to offer a wide range of deals for Sunday's Down-Cork clash.
Advertisements have also been placed in newspapers in what is a more traditional ploy by touts to acquire tickets.
One internet site was yesterday claiming to have tickets in all areas of Croke Park and was quoting €550 for a premium level seat, ranging down to €380 for the Upper Davin Stand. The face value of stand tickets (except premium levels) is €70.
Another advertisement was offering two Hogan Stand premium level seats for €1,100, throwing in the added attraction that they were “next to the bar.” Two Cusack Stand tickets were on offer for €800 with a promise “to deliver anywhere, anytime in Ireland.”
Because football has a greater penetration than hurling across the country, its final attracts bigger ticket demands. It increases further when, as in Down's case, a county reaches the final after a lengthy absence. Two finals involving Down hold the record for All-Ireland final attendances with 87,768 having attended their clash with Kerry in 1960 and 90,556 — the largest ever — watching them beat Offaly a year later.
“We want tickets to go to people who deserve them which is why we distribute as many as we possibly can to our counties and clubs,” said GAA Director-General, Paraic Duffy. “We'll do all in our power to track down tickets that come on the black market and take whatever action we can against those who provided them.”
Any ticket found to have come through the black market route will be cancelled. That would prevent the holder gaining access to Croke Park as the cancelled bar code is picked up by the scanner.
Kieran McGeeney is to continue as Kildare manager up to the end of 2013, bringing his stint with the Lilywhites to six years —providing he sees out the term.
The Kildare executive has recommended the Armagh legend’s reappointment for a further three years and it will be ratified at the next county board meeting.
Chairman Padraig Ashe said: “Ideally, we would have loved to be preparing for the All-Ireland final this week and, with a bit of luck that's what we'd be doing.
“Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, so we were anxious to put everything in place to give us the best possible chance for next year. Having Kieran back with us will be a huge help in that regard.”