It has been the talk of the county since we woke up bleary eyed and with hearts still racing on Monday August 26. ‘Tickets’. It’s the one word that’s probably been uttered more around the county in the past fortnight, than any other.
The hunt for tickets is on in earnest, with the talk in the build-up to last weekend’s semi-final between Kerry and Dublin revolving around who was the best side to win that game, when it comes to sourcing tickets, as much as who would be the best side for Mayo to play on the day.
There is never going to be enough tickets to satisfy the demand. There never is, that’s just a plain and simple fact. This weekend all over the county, if they haven’t already, clubs will be taking names and trying to compile lists of members for one of the precious pieces of paper for Sunday fortnight. It’s an arduous task for the volunteers who keep the clubs running on the ground on a daily basis, because of their passion for the game and their community. Tempers will flare along the way somewhere no doubt, and hard decisions have to be made somewhere. But it’s not their fault, if they could they would sort everyone in the club out with a ticket. But with senior clubs getting 50 stand and 50 terrace tickets, intermediate 40 and 40, and junior 30 and 30, there are not enough to go around for everyone. While there are other allocations for players involved with the county panel and fundraising initiatives that will allow clubs to get their hands on some more, it will still not be enough.
That’s the hand that the clubs are dealt, and the county board too, there are only so many to go around. Apart from the clubs there are lots of people who do their bit all year for Mayo GAA, like the people who sit on the various sub-committees, referees who go out day and night all year round and get plenty of abuse for it, players from other Mayo panels like the u21s and junior teams who have given their all for the county this year have to be taken care of, and only rightly so. Last year saw the gesture by the county board of making a ticket available to every living player who has ever played senior championship football for Mayo, one that has continued this year and is something that can only be commended once again, they kept fighting the fight in their time.
While the ticket chase is an annual event in every county when they reach the All Ireland final, the 1,300-odd who signed up for Cáirde Mhaigheo for this year and put their money and support behind the side from the off will be guaranteed their ticket and a chance to buy one more if they renew their membership for 2014 tomorrow when the tickets are distributed in MacHale Park.
For those in charge of the games in Mayo they will probably be looking to downgrade their smart phones to an old fashioned long lasting Nokia ‘brick’ with the number of calls, texts and emails they have been getting over the past few weeks runs down their battery a couple of times a day. It is going to be a busy few weeks for them, as well as the players and management, as they try to keep everything moving as smoothly and fairly as they can.