Ticket disaster still rankles with Kerry fans

The GAA’s ticket allocation process is totally and absolutely farcical and, in that respect, the association is certainly living up to its amateur status. Many supporters anxious to attend Sunday’s game told of having to endure an online queuing system that lasted for several hours only to see their efforts end in disappointment. In addition, frustrated fans had to queue in SuperValu outlets for up to two hours, watching as the obviously faulty system crashed repeatedly and many had to leave without what they came for. The fans deserve better and the suits that devised the ticket distribution system would benefit from a crash course in basic customer care. Whatever way you look at it, a crowd of less than 34,000 at an All-Ireland semi-final is a complete marketing department disaster. And they wonder why it happened?

Presuming Stephen O’Brien is cleared to play in the final – a retrospective view of the black card he received against Meath should see to that – the Kenmare flyer will be involved in a head-to-head showdown with Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan for the player of the year gong. Both have been incredible in this year’s championship and while O’Brien also excelled in the league and looks to have the edge, in reality the top award will go to the player whose side win the final. And our money is on O’Brien.

With the price of All-Ireland tickets rocking toward the three-figure mark – yes, it will cost you €90 to attend Kerry v Dublin – the one saving grave is that supporters can claw back a fiver by not bothering with a match programme. Traditionally part and parcel of the occasion, they are no longer worth the paper they are written on given that so many changes are made prior to the throw-in. Team sheets aside, there’s really not much else to use as a selling point for programmes – unless you want to read about another player who loves steak and chips before they divulge that Shawshank Redemption is their favourite film.

Just what victory over Tyrone meant to the Kerry players was clearly evident when Maurice Deegan’s final whistle sounded on Sunday. While David Clifford had his arms in the air in celebration long before the end, his team-mates could scarcely contain their joy and excitement, punching the air, fist-pumping and sharing hugs with their team-mates, their mentors and anybody else who just happened to be in their general direction. And it was no more than they were entitled to after a magnificent second half performance.

The GAA anoraks reckon last Sunday was the first time a Kerry team started a senior championship game without a Dr Croke’s player in the line-up. The late replacement of Gavin White –reported to have been feeling a little out of sorts the day before the game – and the decision to exclude Micheál Burns from the match day squad had supporters casting their minds back to the last time there was no black and amber representative from Killarney involved. White played an important part in the second half, however, and his strong running tormented the Tyrone defence and opened up new avenues for Kerry to explore on the right wing.

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