All-Ireland final: Fans’ hopes not dampened by ticket scarcity

Mayo supporters and Senators travel to Dublin in search of seats and long-awaited glory

Mayo fans at a pre-All Ireland Final party at the Shamrock Bar in Breaffy, Co Mayo. The county last won an All-Ireland senior title in 1951. Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Phocus

Mayo fans at a pre-All Ireland Final party at the Shamrock Bar in Breaffy, Co Mayo. The county last won an All-Ireland senior title in 1951. Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Phocus

 

Deirdre Flynn has been to all five Dublin senior football championship matches so far this summer – including the game in Kilkenny against Laois, the first sojourn for the Dubs outside the Pale in 10 years.

It is spoken of by Dublin fans as if they were 19th-century explorers trying to find the Northwest Passage.

She has also been singing about her love for the Dubs for two years in a row now. Yesterday, the Sam Maguire cup arrived in St Finbarr’s Boys National School in Cabra. To her surprise, the pupils began to sing the song Dublin Army 2016 written by her and performed by singer-songwriter Stephen Leeson. Proceeds from the single will be used to raise funds for St Francis Hospice, Our Lady’s Hospice and the Irish Hospice Foundation.

Superfan’s frustration

The distribution of tickets for the All-Ireland final is a mystery worthy of the third secret of Fatima.

“Two sleeps to go and no ticket,” she said yesterday. “Everyone I know is the same boat. The clubs I know are not getting the allocation they wanted or expected.

“All I know is that it is not my fault that I haven’t got a ticket,” she said, before adding with a pregnant pause, “yet”.

The distribution of All-Ireland tickets lends itself to perennial drama, none more so than this year when former Mayo TD and now Senator Michelle Mulherin complained that she could not get a ticket for the match.

She was affronted by the rebuff from GAA ard stiúrthoir Páraic Duffy who said tickets could only be allocated to TDs and not Senators.

Sympathy for Senators

Catherine Noone

Sympathy for both was in short supply, with many fans saying they have a greater case for a ticket. When asked for his opinion, one caller to RTÉ’s Liveline said “because it is day-time radio I will restrict my vocabulary in relation to it”.

Dublin are the hottest favourites to win back-to-back All-Irelands for the first time since 1977. They are 2/7 with bookmakers. You can get 11/4 on Mayo to win.

Everybody talks about the build-up in Mayo as being “low-key”. It could hardly be otherwise, given the seven All-Ireland finals the county has been in since last winning their last All-Ireland senior title, in 1951. At 65, Mayo’s hope has reached pension age.

Nevertheless, the fans will travel to Croke Park on Sunday hoping and praying the fabled losing streak can be brought to an end.

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