HomeFootballMichael Moynihan: Struggling to secure an All-Ireland final ticket? Here are nine...

Michael Moynihan: Struggling to secure an All-Ireland final ticket? Here are nine ways to get one

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First things first.

I don’t have any. None. No prospect of any. Not a sign, not a sniff, not a whisper. Check my pockets, check my phone. Not a sausage.

In Bishopstown or Blackpool, Youghal or Charleville, you are surely aware of the swerve in conversations that have been occurring since last weekend, the warp in your coffee chats, the sudden eruptions in those phone calls.

There you are discussing the weather/ Paul Mescal’s abs in that terrible trailer/the fact New York has discovered wheelie bins, then someone derails the talk completely.


Do you have a ticket?”

There are no gaucheries when it comes to tickets, it seems. No etiquette. Subtlety is yesterday’s game. Cast yourself on the mercy of the court and make your longing plain.

(Something a little more proactive, please — ed.)

The interest in the coming All-Ireland final means there are thousands of Cork people wondering how they can get the precious admission voucher.

Let me share some lessons from a couple of decades of going to All-Ireland finals.

1. Early and Often

Is it too late to source a ticket? Some experts in the field believe so: that if you are not putting the wheels in motion while still in your seat in Croke Park after the semi-final, then by definition you are too late.

Fear not. You are not too late. But you have a lot of work to do.

Text everyone in your phone contacts to start off with: ‘Am in the market for tickets (smiley face) if you have any’.

Earnest but lighthearted, that’s the tone.

And that’s everybody listed in your contacts. Yes, even JIM (KEVIN’S DRAIN BUDDY). Everyone in the ‘Weekend Away WhatsApp’. Even MIRIAM — DUCK EGG CONNECT.

Allow a day before you follow up with a firm but polite reminder. Just avoid making a note of the people who didn’t even respond.

2. Go upcountry

Go beyond those you know personally. You know people in Donegal and south Tyrone and other remote fastnesses, but to see the red jerseys sprint out of the tunnel you have to go deeper.

Brian Hayes of Cork, right, celebrates with teammate Alan Connolly during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Limerick and Cork at Croke Park in Dublin. 

Your pal’s cousin from Fermanagh, the chap you met that time at the wedding? Get his number and text him; you don’t have to remind him why he had to get his shoes specially cleaned the following day, just ask him if he or any of his mates, you know, can put their hands on …

Something in return?

See below.

3. False promises

This introduces ethics. Unfortunately.

An exchange scenario often arises out of no 2 above: the commonly acceptable currency is one All-Ireland football ticket for one hurling. Commit to providing a football ticket with a clear conscience.

Blame force majeure when you fail to follow through, as you inevitably will, and soothe your conscience with a touch of Donald Trump: you believed what you were saying when you said it.

No jury in Cork would convict you for breach of promise.

4. Reawakening friendships

Nothing appearing on the horizon though the game is drawing closer?

Remember that person you didn’t like in primary school? You really didn’t like? There was no need for them to point out to the rest of the first communion class that you hadn’t made it to the toilet in time. Your commitment to a vendetta is easily understood.

It is an immutable law of the cosmos that that person, for reasons which surpasseth understanding, will inevitably have access to tickets for the four corners of the Hogan Stand.

How strong is your need to see the two Downeys and Patrick Horgan in Croke Park? If it’s strong enough, you will swallow your vomit and make that call. Just try to forget that image of yourself as a betrayed six-year-old.

5. Don’t be a glutton

True story: a friend got a call one September Sunday morning as he approached the capital for the big show.

Any tickets for a (vouched-for) third party?

Yes, said my friend, as it happens I have one spare.

Great, O’Connell Bridge at noon ok for the handover? He’ll have a red baseball cap.

My friend duly toddled along to OCB., waited, saw his target approach — then noted the red baseball cap dispersing tickets to several hangers-on.

‘Hang on,’ thought my friend, ‘he’s shared out eight or nine there.’

Friend faded into crowd like Homer Simpson backing into a hedge, eventually offloading the ticket to a far more deserving supporter.

This is an unbreakable rule of All-Ireland tickets: if you’re sorted, move on and give someone else a chance to see the game. Don’t act the big shot by doling them out to impress.

6. Maintain your composure

On this point, rolling your eyes at patently false stories from the old days is permissible.

“Sure this is a cod ringing fellas to try to get tickets. God be with the days you could snap them up like ’77. I remember coming out of Woolworth’s on Patrick Street and I nearly fell into Jack’s State car and he buried me in a bagful of Upper Cusacks and I went down to the Swan and Cygnet happy out sure this is a cod etc etc”

7. Contingency planning

What happens when nothing works out?

 Declan Dalton of Cork celebrates after scoring a second half point during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Limerick and Cork at Croke Park in Dublin.  Picture: Sportsfile
 Declan Dalton of Cork celebrates after scoring a second half point during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Limerick and Cork at Croke Park in Dublin.  Picture: Sportsfile

The schoolmate you thought might have tickets proves a bust. The slight acquaintances living hundreds of miles away come up with nothing. Even MIRIAM — DUCK EGG CONNECT fails to come through. You are glum, staring into the River Lee and wondering about your options.

Yes, there is one. Now you must go across to Horgan’s Quay and through that vast car park for the train to Dublin. Without a match ticket.

8. Dublin

Here is a secret: it’s hard to find a Cork pub in the capital.

Chaplin’s near Hawkins Street is a Tipperary house, as is The Palace. Go back down the quays and O’Shea’s Merchant is a Kerry hang-out. The Portobello? Donegal people.

Cork people are welcome in every hostelry, but that means there’s no specific spot where other Leesiders may be congregating to share tickets.

One of the great sources was always Glenalbyn in south Dublin and the Sevens tournament run by Kilmacud Crokes. This was an event where Cork people were always assured of a welcome thanks to the presence of my late uncle Frank Foley, a wise owl in Kilmacud for many years, but the split season means no Sevens on Saturday week, so no market in tickets.

If you wake up on Sunday week with nothing, then the bus to O’Connell Street and the nuclear option awaits.

9. The Steps

Barry’s was the spot, but now it’s the steps of the Gresham Hotel.

This is traditionally where tickets are sold at a cost of xy, where x = three months’ wages and y = another three months’ wages.

You’ll pony up if you need to be there.

You need to be there.

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