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Grace Ni Murchu (nine months), wearing the Mayo colours, and Ronan Cassidy (11 months), from Donegal Town, sit together in the Sam Maguire Cup at Croke Park yesterday

Emigrants flood home in their thousands for All-Ireland football final clash

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Grace Ni Murchu (nine months), wearing the Mayo colours, and Ronan Cassidy (11 months), from Donegal Town, sit together in the Sam Maguire Cup at Croke Park yesterday

Sunday Is the biggest day of the year in Irish sports, the All Ireland gaelic football final and the novel pairing of Mayo and Donegal at Croke Park in Dublin has driven ticket prices sky high.

The main reason is the tens of thousands of emigrants from the two western seaboard counties which have suffered massive emigration over the years are all seeking tickets.

Thousands are pouring in from the US, Britain, even as far away as Australia to witness the historic clash for the Sam Maguire cup, the most famous trophy in Irish sport.

Indeed, emigrants have driven the price of All-Ireland football final tickets to record levels – and there’s no guarantee anyone who buys on the black market will even see the Donegal v Mayo game.

One desperate fan shelled out $10,000 on Friday for a pair of premium level tickets.

But GAA bosses have warned they will ban tickets bought from touts ahead of Sunday’s sell-out Croke Park final.

All-Ireland fever has gripped Dublin as thousands of fans descend on the capital from home and abroad ahead of the Donegal-Mayo showdown on Sunday.
Ticket touts are making a fortune as fans from both counties arrives home from all across the globe in search of priceless tickets.

One supporter shelled out an astonishing $10,000 for a pair of tickets in an eBay auction on Friday.

That’s the highest known price ever paid for a pair of tickets according to a report in the Irish Sun newspaper.

The Premium Level tickets were snapped up for over 20 times their face value from a Tipperary based seller.

GAA spokesman Alan Milton admitted that the novel pairing has attracted record demand for tickets.

The GAA’s media director said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. Not even Dublin and Kerry last year was like this.

“We could easily sell 150,000 tickets for this match. It’s all about supply and demand and there is huge demand for this.

“The reason this game is such hot property is due to the two counties playing.

“There are a lot of emigrants from Donegal and Mayo and they’re coming home for it. There hasn’t been a Connacht-Ulster final since 1948. Nobody wants to be left without a ticket.

“Some extremely wealthy person saw it as an experience they couldn’t miss and spent the €7,100 to get it.”

Milton warned however that the GAA will refuse entry to the ticket-holder if they can identify them.

“We will examine the photo of the tickets online and see if we can identify the serial numbers,” he added.

“If the number comes up at the turnstile, the holder will be refused entry.”

Ireland’s Junior Sports Minister Michael Ring has slammed the touts cashing in on the Donegal and Mayo fans.

Minister Ring, a proud Mayo man, said: “I’m appalled this sort of rip-off is happening.

“I’m going to get my officials to re-examine legislation to see if we can strengthen it.”

Police sources confirmed to the Irish Sun that it is not illegal to sell tickets on the internet.

A police spokesperson said: “It’s not illegal to sell tickets on above face value.

“Touts who sell on the street can certainly be prosecuted under the Casual Trading Act.

“But there is nothing to stop someone selling tickets online and if someone wants to pay in excess for them, they can.”

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