Rush on for elusive tickets for Croker showdown

There is only one topic on the lips of every Galway hurling supporter since the team put in the performance of the season last Sunday to plunder the All Ireland semi-final and transport every fan into a state of ecstasy not experienced for many a year. 

Now the rush is on to secure a coveted ticket to the final on September 6, and Galway County Board has issued a warning that it will not be able to meet the demand, and fans must seek tickets from outside the county. County board chairman Noel Treacy says he does not think the call for tickets was ever as frantic before. “The performance has really galvanised the support. My mobile phone has been ringing off the hook every day since Sunday. There are days where I have had to charge it three times it has rung so much! It has just been manic.’’

Croke Park has a capacity of 82,000, but what always surprises fans is the allocation of tickets coming to Galway will not even be one tenth of that. The 32 county boards across the country will among them receive some 60,000 tickets. Schools and third level colleges get 2,500 tickets, while season ticket holders are entitled to 5,500 tickets, 1,000 tickets are given to overseas clubs, the Camogie, Ladies Football, Handball, and Rounders Associations are each allocated about 200 tickets, as are the jubilee teams and mini-7s which play at half-time. 

The county board will not be notified until next week as to Galway’s exact allocation, but the expectation is the figure will be around 7,000 - as the county is contesting both the Senior and Minor All Ireland’s. Some 5,000 tickets will go to Kilkenny as it is a smaller county with fewer clubs, while another 1,000 will be given to clubs in Tipperary due to The Premier County being the other team in the minor All-Ireland.

The county board will not be notified until next week as to Galway’s exact allocation, but the expectation is the figure will be around 7,000 - as the county is contesting both the Senior and Minor All Ireland’s. Some 5,000 tickets will go to Kilkenny as it is a smaller county with fewer clubs, while another 1,000 will be given to clubs in Tipperary due to The Premier County being the other team in the minor All-Ireland.

The tickets that come to Galway will then be divided among the clubs. Senior hurling clubs will get the biggest allocation while intermediate and junior clubs will also get their share. Football clubs will receive a lower percentage. The allocation will be based on the number of members and the number of teams in each club.

Noel Treacy says the strong message to ticket-seekers is to go outside the county. “Think of anybody you know living elsewhere and see if they can get their hands on one. There are obviously tickets going to every county in Ireland so you have a great chance of securing something that way. I would appeal to people to refrain from ringing players and management about tickets. It is unfair to be putting pressure on them, they have enough to be thinking about to be getting ready for the game. The players do not have tickets, they will only get enough to cover their partners and own families.”

There is already huge momentum building ahead of the big game. Businesses, homeowners, and communities across the county are being urged to show their support for the lads and turn Galway maroon ahead of the big day. Along with the traditional RTE Up for the Match show, Irish TV has announced it will record a live All Ireland special in The Lady Gregory Hotel in Gort on Thursday September 3 at 8pm. The programme will feature numerous former Galway players and there will also be a mixed panel of hurling stars from around the country. The county board chairman is encouraging ticket-seekers to enter a draw for free tickets which will take place on the show. “It is costing a fortune to run the operation. The more successful a team is, the higher the costs. We are organising a fundraising draw and there are 20 All-Ireland tickets up for grabs. The tickets for the draw cost €20 each, and are available from any of the clubs around the county.”

Mr Treacy says the aim of the county board is to ensure that as many Galway supporters as possible make it into Croke Park on the big day. “Our goal is to manage the lead-up in the best way possible. We want to give maximum opportunity to the players to perform to the best of their ability and maximum enjoyment to the supporters. This team has excited people, they are bringing a new brand of hurling. There is nothing that would do more for the county from a hurling perspective and for morale than to win an All-Ireland. The GAA has a massive place in all our hearts.’’ 

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