The Hallowed Grounds of Croke Park

Frequently Asked Questions for the All Ireland Football Final Tickets

I’ve been lucky enough to have season tickets that grant me an all-Ireland final ticket. Many don’t. I didn’t in 2011, but still managed to get a ticket on the day.

For the last 4 years, Dublin have made the final, and the same questions and topics come up regularly. So here’s my guide to all Ireland Final Tickets.

  1. When do they go on sale?
    The tickets don’t go on general sale. All tickets are distributed through schemes, and the majority are distributed through GAA Clubs throughout the country.
  2. What do you mean by schemes?
    There’s the Season Ticket Scheme (operated by GAA Head Quarters); Members of this are entitled to purchase a ticket if their attendance at their given county and code are over 60% for the given season.
    There’s the Dublin County Board Scheme (known as the Parnell Pass), which entitles the owner to puchase a ticket for the final. Other counties will have their own scheme.
  3. And the rest are distributed through clubs?
    Yes. That’s the only way in which they are distributed en-masse. Demand for tickets through clubs typically far exceeds supply, so clubs will usually run draws for the right to purchase a ticket.
  4. How much are the tickets?
    €80 for a stand ticket. €40 for a Terrace Ticket.
  5. And for children?
    All All-Ireland tickets are one price. There are no child prices (not even for infants). Each ticket is full price.
  6. And do all clubs get them?
    Yes. Clubs the length and breadth of the country are allocated tickets, as are overseas county boards. Typically clubs in competing counties get a larger allocation, whilst clubs from outside of the competing counties can have small allocations. From folklore, club allocations outside of the competing counties can be as little as 2 tickets for an entire club. There are often stories of pre-arranged ticket-swaps where one county’s board may make a request to another county’s board to transfer their allocation in the event of making it to the final. I don’t know if this happens, but it’s often talked about; Where neighbouring counties will help each other out.
  7. But what about the general public?
    Unfortunately, this has always been the way. All-Ireland Tickets don’t go on general sale. Unless you’re in a club, your chances are slim, and your options are limited.
  8. But I’ve gone to The Dubs/Tyrone/Mayo/Kerry games all season; I deserve a ticket! How do I get my hands on one?
    You probably do deserve a ticket, but unless you’ve been buying all these tickets all season from your local club, you may be out of luck.
  9. The GAA should have a scheme for loyal fans. This is unfair!
    Well, it could be argued that the Season Ticket is exactly this; it is a ticket that guarantees you an All-Ireland ticket, but if you’re a Dublin or Mayo supporter, they are all sold out. They renew just after the end of the season, so keep your eyes peeled! But there have been none offered for Dublin or Mayo for the last few years as the allocation is full, and nobody is giving them up. Similarly, for Dublin Supporters: The Parnell Pass scheme is currently fully subscribed.
    In addition, the GAA have launched a loyalty programme called GRMA (for “Go Raibh Maith Agat”, get it?), where you can accrue points for game attendance. Points can be redeemed for offers such as equipment, and sometimes can be used to enter a draw for tickets; It’s never a source of tickets for the All-Ireland as such, but it is the beginning of a loyalty scheme. So, if you’re a regular attendee, I recommend you join GRMA anyway. Who knows, in the future it may be used for ticket schemes.
  10. So, even if I’ve gone all season, there could be some random neutral who’s never gone to a game in my place?
    I guess so. This is the way they have always been allocated, there’s not a lot you can do about it. And the GAA seems happy with the method of distribution; each year this comes up, and they could sell out an All-Ireland final 3 or 4 times. It’s an imperfect system.
  11. What about corporates, and premium tickets? Are they just fat cats who get to eat prawn sandwiches and have no interest in the game?
    That’s quite an assumption. Corporate is a level in Croke Park, and is a key part of funding the stadium. Large companies have paid to have their companies promoted and have access to their own sponsored boxes for any event on at the stadium. They cost a pretty penny; But they get to distribute their own tickets; So if you know someone who is high up in a company with a corporate box, maybe they have a ticket going spare.
    Premium is different. This is level 4 of Croke Park. Tickets are essentially block purchased (and they ain’t cheap at around €5,000 per anum; details here). One thing to be aware of is premium ticket holders can sell their tickets through a system for all premium ticket holders (called “Priomh”); always at face value. So, if someone had a premium ticket and wasn’t using it, they’d put it on sale on Priomh. Other priomh members can purchase this from them. So. If you know any people who owns a priomh membership, maybe they can keep an eye there for you. Tickets are more expensive for Premium level.
  12. OK. I finally get it. Unless I’ve a season ticket, or a system like the Parnell Pass, or a corporate ticket, or a premium ticket, or I get one through my club I’m out of luck, right?
    Not quite.
  13. HUH?
    There are lots of potential ways of picking up a ticket, all of these are long shots but here’s some pointers:
    1. Clubs will often keep aside one or two and run a fundraising draw, where €10 or the like enters you into a draw for tickets. It’s a gamble, but it could come good.
    2. Often when small businesses or charities get their hands on tickets, they’ll use them for promotional purposes. Keep an eye on facebook for local shops offering tickets in exchange for likes and shares. You never know.
    3. Hound everyone you know. Tickets can come from the strangest of places, and sometimes someone has a spare, so make sure everyone you know knows you’re on the hunt. Someone may just end up with one to spare.
    4. Sometimes, fans end up with spares, and when they do, they’ll typically want to offload it for face value to another genuine fan. This is the GAA way, so if you’re part of a fan group on facebook, whatsapp etc., keep your ear to the ground, and again, make sure people know you’re on the lookout.
    5. Head towards the ground on game-day; Hang around the bars nearby. Ask behind the bar. Some may laugh at you, but some may say “That guy over there just asked if anyone was looking for a ticket”. Sometimes, someone arrives, and their friend couldn’t make it, and they want to offload it. Kavanagh’s, Gaffney’s, Meagher’s, Gill’s are all good hunting grounds. If you get up early, head into O’Connell St; you’ll often find someone offloading there. Don’t give up! They can change hands at the very last minute.
  14. I know of all of the above. But this year seems much quieter than previous years. There isn’t a sniff of a ticket. What gives?
    Slow down there buddy. Tickets don’t begin to change hands until the very last minute. In my experience, you’ll not hear about tickets on the move until about the Thursday before the game. Remember, tickets have to be first distributed, then the clubs arrange their draws, and people typically only have them in hand from about 5 days before the game. Come Thursday, people start to know if they’ve managed to get one too many. Patience is your friend here. Thursday, start hassling. Friday wait by the phone, Saturday hope for the best, Sunday, start panicking! Seriously though, pound the streets on Sunday morning.
  15. OK. That’s all useful advice anything else?
    Avoid typical scalping. A true fan will offload it to another at face value. You’ll read about people paying hundreds or more for a ticket on classified ad site, but I don’t know if that actually happens; I’ve heard many a story about inflated prices, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who as admitted to paying them.