Searching for that golden ticket

If there’s one constant every year Mayo are in the All-Ireland Final, it is the elusive search for tickets as Edwin McGreal from The Mayo News reports.

AIF tickets


A friend of mine got a phonecall within ten minutes of the final whistle on Sunday last. It was his mother-in-law with a simple order – six tickets side by side for the Hogan Stand for the All-Ireland Final.

She told him to go down to his local newsagent, who is a big GAA man, and place the order. Never one to miss an opportunity for devilment, my friend said the local newsagent wouldn’t have so many but if she rang a certain takeaway and placed the order, they’d help her.

I’m not sure if she asked for delivery or collection but needless to say the takeaway employee just laughed at her. My friend got an earful too but he’d had his fun.

On Monday morning in The Mayo News one of our erstwhile colleagues who wouldn’t be exactly what you would call a passionate Mayo supporter put her hand up. Could she have a ticket? We tried, in vain, to tell her that they will be in very short supply and we’d be doing well to get there ourselves to cover the game. Would every member of staff in The Mayo News not be entitled to a ticket for all the coverage we give the football? We like to think we provide a great service for the football followers in this county but, despite fielding several calls here for tickets, you’ve a better chance of ringing that takeaway my friend was on about.

The worst example I’ve heard though is one recounted by former Mayo GAA Secretary Seán Feeney. He fielded a call from a supporter who was arranging a bus for the All-Ireland final in 1996 and wondered if Seán might oblige them by sorting them with 50 tickets. We’re not sure how many of them got into Croker that day.

Connacht Council Secretary John Prenty, who was the Mayo Secretary in 1989, recalls an inquiry from one blissfully ignorant supporter looking for two Hill 16 tickets ‘side by side’.

If there is one thing that provokes little indifference in the build-up to All-Ireland finals is the subject of tickets. From people whose first game all year might be the All-Ireland final to those who were in Ballinamore for the FBD opener, everyone is wondering how they will get to Croke Park.

And you can be sure of a lot of things this month. People who deserve to be there won’t be and people who have little justification for being there will be. And, most certainly, people will fall out over tickets. It is the way of the world.

As things stand, Mayo don’t know exactly how many tickets they are going to have for the All-Ireland final. Even if the County Board gets another 2,000 tickets, which is likely due to the minors’ involvement this year, they won’t be long being sorted through.

Clubs will be the main source of tickets and so people who are not club members are at a distinct disadvantage. It’s why, in my opinion, the national GAA season ticket for county supporters is such a good, if overdue, initiative. Attend 70 per cent of your county’s games and you have nibs on an All-Ireland ticket if your county is competing.

I often heard people say they were at every match in a year and couldn’t get a ticket for the final. In some cases, though certainly not all, this was true. I remember a schoolfriend of mine who is a Mayo die-hard but, because he stopped playing around 1998, he was no longer a club member by 2004.

He’d no All-Ireland ticket and in what was one of the most generous displays of generosity around an All-Ireland final, another friend of mine, far from a die-hard, met him on Drumcondra Road at about 2pm on that September day and felt he couldn’t go in and leave the fanatic outside. So he gave him the ticket and went to watch the game in Quinn’s by himself. Such altruistic spirit is rare though. It’s normally the survival of the fittest and no place for nice guys.

But, now at least, fanatics like my schoolfriend can earn their ticket through the likes of the Cáirde Mhaigh Eo season ticket.

However it will never mean that the 82,000 most deserving souls will find their way to Croke Park on September 22. Life isn’t perfectly fair and the GAA certainly isn’t.



Corporate figures will be rewarded for their investment in sponsorship. Such is the way with big sporting days, in any code. And then there’s the very Irish way of knowing the right people in the right places.

Having a friend or a relation of yours who is a chairman of a hurling club in Monaghan is something most people never see as useful but this month any GAA contact in any club not participating in the final is Heaven sent.

Every club in the country should, at least, get two tickets and while some will choose to raffle them to fundraise, others will give them to someone they know from the participating counties.

So if you’ve a sniff of any of those type of contacts, get in touch with them now before the other semi-final is played. Donegal made hay out of the extra week they had on us last year. Mayo supporters should be looking to do the same this time around. Resourcefulness is key.

Better still, if you’ve access in any way to All-Ireland Final hurling tickets, look to trade for football tickets with Clare, where the ticket hunt is much more ferocious than in Cork. If you’re very lucky you might even get two football tickets for one hurling. Let that be the start of your negotiations anyway.

There’ll be any amount of competitions for tickets. It’s likely that if you’re on Facebook all you’ll see for the next few weeks is ‘shared’ status’ by people trying to win tickets.

The County Board, in an understandable effort to draw people into the four club championship games this weekend, are giving away one ticket at half-time in each of the games at MacHale Park (details on that initiative is here). You enter a draw on the way in and hope for the best.

Clubs remain the best source and if you’re an active adult member – as a player, an official or a coach – you should get sorted. If you’re not, then hopefully you’re already scouring the country looking for that precious piece of paper. Most genuine supporters will get their ticket, even if it might be as late as All-Ireland Sunday afternoon. Patience is a prerequisite. Some, unfortunately, will fall short. Best of luck in the hunt.

61 thoughts on “Searching for that golden ticket

  1. The season ticket is the only job, no worries about a ticket and the fans are around you create the best atmosphere in croke park

  2. Everyone, if you already have a ticket, don’t stop looking! We need every ticket we can get.

    If you know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who knows:

    • Anyone who’s involved with Leinster, Ulster or Munster Provincial Councils, Central Council, Former GAA Presidents, GAA staff, GAA committees, Irish Sports Council, Referees, Camogie, Ladies Football, Rounders, Handball, University GAA or Cumann na mBunscol.
    • Anyone who works at eircom, Ulster bank, Supervalu, Allianz, AIB, Specsavers, Cadbury, Etihad, Centra, Liberty Insurance, ESB, Kelloggs, Bord Gáis, Opel, Bus Eireann, Irish Daily Mail
    • Anyone who works in the media/press in any capacity + Croke Park residents + anyone in educational bodies
    • Anyone who played senior inter-county football for any county this year.

    Do your part for the county, there’s not much else we can do before the day!

  3. Just booked the flight home from New York which cost about $1050 and I’ve every one plagued over here from Antrim to bear island in cork for a ticket ..with the help of god il get one if by any chance I get two il put it back into the club at home but I fear getting my own one will be extremly hard

  4. Thanks mayomaningalway hopefully everyone gets a ticket and we can flood Croker with a sea of green and red… it’s being too long

  5. David, not really. I flew back for the Final in 2004 and airfare ran me $795 and that was with us having played the second semi. For the time of year $1050 is not bad. I’ll be out in LA the day of the Final but what I wouldn’t do to be on Jones Road around 4:57PM………………knock on wood.

  6. I noticed that during this years league there were four turnstiles open for season ticket holders in Castlebar, and alway a queue. Compared to last year when only one was used. I imagine a lot of Mayo supporters copped on after last years final and so, have looked after themselves for A I F ticket. If this is so it will make it slightly easier for others to get one.
    It’s a no brainer for anyone who goes to matches regularly, €70 for all league games and first championship match plus good seats for the rest of it and final ticket if you have 60 per cent attendance. I got mine for both finals so everybody be ready for next year.

  7. Ill be getting my season ticket for next season win loose or draw in a few weeks time.I was just watching some clips of McDonald.Jaysus lads he was a class act.Pundits might say a marquee forward.But i wouldn’t swap him for any of our lads now not one of them.Im very proud of them and i know after the final whistle blows regardless of result i will still be proud of them.Its our year lads.I still dont think Dublin are as good as there being talked up i really don’t.

  8. Reaftari

    How will you explain to the LAPD that Mayo won when they are respond to a report of a guy in a green and red jersey running around jumping clean over cars and buildings?
    I remember watching the 2006 semi in a packed pub in woodside in New York. Never seen anything like it when macdonald kicked the winner, the windows and doors were nearly blown out. A great day, hope tomorrow 3 weeks is better

  9. A lot depends on tomorrow’s outcome , if its Kerry , everyone that’s a genuine supporter will probably get one.

    If its Dublin, there will be a lot of disappointed people about,myself included but will be there in spirit for sure. Could cause a grown man to cry but at the end of the day it’s stupidity on my behalf that didnt purchase a season ticket, the trip to Cork alone exceeded price of season ticket.

  10. What defines a genuine supporter? If its people that attend every league and championship game? In that case there is 3000 at the very most “genuine supporters”,if its attending most league games and all championship, then its 5000 max, look at the attendance for the league and that will tell a tale. My sister, her husband and two kids went to semi final, that’s €90…before petrol, food,tolls, etc. They decided they could not attend both 1/4 final and semi final so picked semi final.. does that make them “not genuine” and undeserving of a ticket? The FACT of the matter is the season ticket option has given all “genuine supporters” an opportunity to get a discount on both league games and €5 off all championship tickets and as such a guaranteed final ticket should the 60% attendance be achieved. . I think the people that shout about fair weather supporters getting tickets ahead of them are slightly disingenuous, the GAA have finally come up with a solution so its up to people to take advantage of that.. even if that option arises in early November when they go on sale.

  11. Some of the most genuine supporters are no longer here they had to leave Ireland for work. I feel sorry for those supporters, they fly home for this game however they can’t get a ticket and are forced to watch the game in pub beside Croke park.

  12. The Kerry gang over here in woodside/maspeth in New York are quietly confident about the game against the dubs… I personally think that the dubs have a stronger bench and speed which they have in most positions my prediction Dublin 2-11 Kerry 0-14

  13. Had the ST for 3 years, since it was introduced, and yet again I have a stress-free leadup to the decider! It’s not difficult, everyone knows the ST is there, and the C Maigh Eo, so there is little excuse outside those travelling from abroad.

  14. Last time I was sure Dublin would beat Kerry was the “startled earwigs” episode. A pasting, it’s just too hard to know who to say will do it. Still on the fence, Dublin have speed but Kerry are Kerry. Spoke with a Kerry fella yesterday, he reckons if Kerry win tomorrow they’ll land Sam for the last time with galvin and a few more aboard. I said nothing, what could I possibly say? Best let our team sort that one out.
    I think that Kerry would be my preferred opponent for the final, just to have a shot at retiring a few of them with a taste of what we got for long enough from them.

  15. I have every sympathy for those travelling from abroad and searching for tickets but question those living at home not having a season ticket. Sixty per cent attendance is not a very high target [9 games barring replays if qualifying for League final and three Connacht championship games]. This should give sufficient leeway for occasions when it is genuinely not possible to attend.
    The ticket search reminds me of a Liam Horan article in the Indo in – I think – ’96 or ’97 about how many of the 30,000 Mayo supporters who attended a replayed NFL,match in Scotstown the previous January could not get a ticket.. [The ref was injured in the first match which had to be abandoned – cue standby refs]. I was in Scotstown that day and as I recall the total attendance was a bit short of 30.000.
    I also cannot quite understand why a genuine supporter would not be a club member.

  16. I’m one of those supporters who will be flying home for the match, but without a ticket. I figure I’ll take the chance. I’m promised one, will hopefully get two as I have a pal with me. I’ll tell you this though, there’s no way ill watch this from a pub in Dublin.

    The season ticket is a no brainer for the ppl at home, and i think great value, but of little use to me here in the US.
    I know it’s not comparing apples with apples but when I consider that the cheapest ticket to a regular season NFL game here is $100, it’s really affordable.

    I think it will be easier to get tickets if Kerry bate Dublin, so for that and other reasons, I hope they do it. Honestly I would love to win an all Ireland over Kerry.

  17. I have a Cairde Maigheo ticket and therefore no worries. I feel sorry for people coming home for the final and having to worry about not getting one. What I have noticed over the years is that a lot of auld fogies from all corners of ireland go to one match a year….the final!
    Croker Park should review their distribution policy in order to make way more tickets available to the competing counties. These should then be distributed through the clubs. The clubs generally know who is deserving of a ticket including those who have gone abroad to work.
    I hope nobody who loves this county of ours is forced to watch from a pub.
    Hup Mayo!

  18. Well il be damned if I travel 3000 miles to watch it in a pub when I can do the same over here ..I’ve 3 weeks to get this ticket even if I’m sitting beside brolly I don’t care

  19. Any of the folks here who are making a long journey home for the final, we’re doing pieces on fans coming home for The Mayo News and would love to hear from ye if ye are interested. Pop me a mail at if so.
    PS: Trevor, no season ticket for press boxes as such but I’ll be there, all going to plan!

  20. I had a dream last nite that Kerry were ahead 13 points to 12 in the final minutes of the game.Whats the chances 🙂

  21. I flew over last year for the final hoping to get a ticket, but there was no chance. I watched the game with hundreds of fans from both counties in the Belvedere outside the ground. It was expecting the same to happen this year that made up my mind to go over for the quarter and semi finals. I wanted to see and support this team. If I cannot get a ticket for the final then I will not travel to watch it in a pub. At 3.30 on 22nd every pub and club around the world with RTE will be rammed to the rafters with green and red supporters.

    Like everyone else, I have my fingers crossed for a Kerry victory, as it will make it that bit easier to find a ticket. Best of luck with your search, NYC. After travelling over 3000 miles they should give you a place on the bench.

  22. I didn’t get a season ticket and held my hands up that I was stupid to do so.

    But please shut up with the patronising guff, 1984 (7 years old) I have followed the county football team , travelling from uk when I worked there, never missed championship and been to most league games since living back home. What amazes me most is there are so many people who say they never miss when it comes to this time of year but yet there was around 5k of us only in Castlebar for the opener v Kerry. If you were to believe everyone you would estimate there was people left outside on McHale rd due to crowd congestion .

  23. Well said Sean Burke.
    Like last year I will not be at the final, tried too hard in the past to get tickets 89,04,06.. ….I’m in the UK and pay to get the GAA on prem.sports so I’ll be watching it on that, I will however be in MacHale Park on the evening of the 23rd whatever happens, like I was last year to welcome home our warriors.
    Now that may put me in the category of ‘the not genuine supporter’ in many’s eyes but I follow every piece of print ,news and video of Mayo GAA though at a distance, sadly.
    | had to leave my beloved county behind over 35 years ago and I and most thought back then, that mass emigration was coming to an end, unfortunately not and due to the present economic climate too many of our young people are on the move again and it is those that I feel sorry for. I am used to having to support from a distance but for those new to it ,it must be heartbreaking. So to those who preach about attending games throughout the year, just think how damn lucky and privileged you are……….but because you are in that position , it doesn’t give you the right to categorize or patronize anyone………………………………………I may not be in Mayo but I am and will always be a Mayoman.

  24. I think everyone on this site are all genuine supporters and have a real love and passion for the gaa and for Mayo
    that’s some prediction Juan .Ill still go for a tight game. I have yet to see Kerry get a hammering in Croker.Does anyone know when or if that last happened ?

  25. @Mayomaningalway The infamous semi final defeat to Meath in 2001, think Kerry didn’t score in the first half, and lost by 2-14 to 0-05.

  26. Flying home from NewYork for the game as I have done for all the other finals that Mayo have been involved in.I Have never witnessed a Mayo senior victory in Croke Park and the closest I came was the 96 draw with Meath.I do not have a ticket as of yet but for me I could never imagine being anywhere else but CrokePark when Mayo finally take Sam back to the west.For me one of the greatest feelings in the world is to see the Green and Red run out into Croke Park on all ireland final day and hopefully I will get the chance this year to see it twice in the one day

  27. I still go with Kerry by a few………….if the Dubs do give them a hammering, they will take some stopping as it will compound their confidence. For us it would be better if today’ s game is hard and tight but somehow I don’t think it will be.
    MaighEo Abu

  28. Lads, was anyone at the fund raiserfor cystic fibrosis in Knockmore GAA club yesterday? Any comments, feedback?

  29. Btw, September 22’nd is also the anniversary of the death of a Mayo and GAA legend and and who made FF on the team of the millennium. That legend? The great Tom Langan.

  30. Still say Kerry.They are just too hard to beat when underrated.Mayo can beat them but only with game of their life.

  31. Kerry shud be 5 or 6 pts up. A bit like the rossie minors at HT, most of the play but not reflected on the scoreboard.

  32. Wow. The dubs were non stop. Kerry played great and still the dubs won…and scored a serious amount. We have our work cut out.

  33. What a game, we now know who the opposition is and they are weak at the back but by God they can score.

  34. I don’t know!
    It will take 100% from 20 mayo lads to just stay with Dublin.
    Now we know
    Coc has no business going out on the pitch, he would not last 2 minutes.
    Mayo fans will be realistic now and the hype will disappear.
    Anything less than full throttle for 70 minutes and its curtains.
    ? Nothing, only I am in shock of the level of tenacity in Dublin

    If we were 6 down against Kerry how would we do?

  35. Well just as i predicted tight game.Dublin to win but Kerry to show up there weaknesses.Kerry just ran out of steam in the end and the Dubs had more pace coming from bench.I think we all knew their back line was weak so Gavin will have a bit of work to do.Another problem is from what i could see is the Dubs don’t know how to tackle properly.They also players who are very individual and love the glory.Other players would have past the ball on to a team mate but Mcmenaman took the shot on there are others as well Brogan being another. This hopefully will be their downfall.But no doubt about it Mayo need to perform on the day and if they do then the Dubs are beatable.

  36. Scary potential in Dublin! However, if we play the game in their half I wonder how good they will be?

  37. 1 point off my prediction coming to pass. We have our work cut out lads, we have the hex on them for the last few years, but this is, as we all know, a very diffrent dublin team. By what we witnessed today, theirs no place for Andy Moran to start the final, he is not fit, nowhere near been fit eneough. Its not the place to be carrying players. I know some people are going to come on and talk about his leadership on the pitch, they dont need him to bark orders, their well experienced themselves, they’ve beaten a dublin team without him. We need 15 on form, top of there fitness players to beat these Dubs. Carolan and Conroy on for Moran an Coc.

  38. Don’t panic. If Dillon can play the role of Cooper then the Dublin defence can be ripped open with runners. Horan was there and will have gained a great deal. Fair play to Dublin, they were very impressive. The difference is that this Mayo side is just as fast and lethal. That was a great game today and all credit to both sides.

  39. That was some match! I thought it was there for Kerry in the 68th minute, tied match and Declan O’Sullivan puts what would have been the go ahead point wide!
    From the kickout three Kerry men go for it, they fumble it, MDM gets a hand to it and sends Kevin Mac through….game over!

    It will take some team to stop Dublin, for they are relentless.

  40. Apparently the Mayo county board will be offered 50% of the hill 16 tickets as its an All Ireland final. In 2011 Kerry opted to swap their allocation for extra stand tickets. I think Mayo county board should take the Hill 16 tickets and let our fans share it with Dublin. Psychologically it would be an advantage to us not to have 13,000 dubs screaming their team on from the Hill.

  41. @mayo.mick

    Are you sure?! If so, that is frightening how time flies!! I have had ST since it’s introduction. Could have sworn it was only 3 years back!

  42. I would be very serious in saying I would love to see a campaign and a plea to our County Board to accept our Hill allocation for the final! It’s actually ridiculous if we let them have it all!

  43. My God, such a game. Totally agree with Mac’s left boot re the Hill. We got a good wake up against Tyrone. Lots to work on. James H saw it first hand today. Now as per usual, Mayo are the “underdogs”. I like that. As the “old” saying goes : “only one way silence them all”. We will need the game of our lives and our boys can and will prevail. And another old saying, like on Mid-West Radio – “long time listener (reader), first time ringer (poster)”. This site is a credit to all involved and to all its contributers. Keep it up. I will be there with ye all on the 22nd. Sea of Green and Red. (And some silver too)!

  44. Gr8 game alright,but can anybody see mayo d giving up a score like that,” not lightly” and we will score against that Dublin d,keep the faith we didn’t reach the final playing bad.someone said to me after the don game “i hope Ye haven’t played yer final” no we haven’t but Dublin might have just played there’s

  45. Impressive as they were and difficult as they will be in three weeks time glad to see the Dubs get through.

    Kevin Mc’s ability to work a goal never ceases to amaze so hopefully the goats of 96 won’t rear their head in the Final.

  46. Plenty of genuine Mayo supporters out there. Hope they all get tickets. If you get one make sure you Support Support Support. Thats your job when you go. If you dont then you may as well be on the couch at home. Agree that the CB should take half the hill tickets it would be stupid not to. Take any advantage we can from Dublin. Disgusted if they dont

  47. Any Cairdre members for last year confirm what type of tickets they got for the final last year? It has been all lower cusack up to this point so I assume its the same with maybe the extra ticket you have the option of buying located somewhere else?

  48. Is there any chance of getting the two tickets seated together? Even if you had to take upper tier to accomodate it? It’s not exactly a game you can be picky, but just wondering!

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