Anticipation and excitement are building across Tipperary as Sunday’s All-Ireland Hurling Final against Kilkenny approaches.
It’s the third year in-a-row that the same counties have met in the final, and with one win each in the past two years this weekend’s latest instalment is eagerly awaited.
Tipperary people everywhere are being encouraged to fly their colours as the county attempts to win the All-Ireland title for the 27th time in total, and retain the McCarthy Cup for the first time since 1965. Kilkenny, meanwhile, will be hoping to be crowned All-Ireland champions for the 33rd time.
Supporters attending the final will have to fork out more money for their tickets this year. Stand tickets have increased in price from €70 to €80 while Hill 16 terrace tickets and Nally Stand tickets cost €40.
The GAA will point to concessions that it has made in the cost of attending other matches this year, including the season ticket and family tickets. And while the overall cost of attending Sunday’s big match is considered steep it’s unlikely to affect the demand.
“The amount of phone calls I’ve received looking for tickets hasn’t diminished anyway”, said Tim Floyd, secretary of the County GAA Board.
He said on Tuesday morning that it looked as if the match would be an 82,000 sell-out. Each competing county receives approximately 15,000 tickets, which are split between 10,000 stand and 5,000 terrace.
The counties in the Minor final, which this year will be contested between Dublin and Galway; the other counties; and the premium and corporate sectors also receive allocations.
Mr Floyd said that in all of Tipp’s four championship matches this season terrace tickets had been returned but that wouldn’t be the case for the final.
He said that supporters were also likely to sweep up any surplus that might be available from other counties. However he said that the County Board never agreed to any formal swap arrangements for All-Ireland Football tickets.
“We’ll get about 2,000 tickets for the All-Ireland Football Final (on September 18) and with the Minors involved this year we can’t afford to swap”, he said.
Those supporters who won’t be in Croke Park on Sunday are expected to throng pubs and hotels, as well as watching events unfold from home when the game starts at 3.30. Last year’s Hurling Final was the second most watched programme on RTE in 2010, after The Late Late Toy Show. It attracted an average of 970,000 viewers, with a peak of 1.24 million tuning in for the last minute when Tipperary made sure of victory.
The Tipp team was due to be announced on Tuesday night. The side was expected to be largely unchanged from the team that beat Dublin in the semi-final, with the only question mark on whether manager Declan Ryan and his selectors would restore last year’s Young Hurler of the Year Brendan Maher to the starting line-up. In keeping with recent tradition the team will travel to Dublin on Sunday morning.
For anyone who fancies a bet on the outcome Tipp were 6/4-on on Tuesday, with Kilkenny 13/8. The draw is available at 11/1 and if the teams finish level at the end of normal time then the replay has been fixed for September 25th.