JOANNE O'RIORDAN: Be fair to us diehard GAA fans, please

GAA diehards are having the same problem every year.

They go to every match throughout the year and when their team is lucky enough to get to the final, the tickets are like hen’s teeth … non-existent. Is this really fair? Supporting your county is a very important thing in many counties.

When I attended the Donegal v Cork match in August, the amount of Donegal people there amazed me. Let’s just say, as Gaeilge ‘bhí an áit dubh lena daoine’, or in this case, green and yellow.

Donegal accents everywhere. What struck me that day was the passion of the people. My father was sitting with a Donegal family and their teenage daughter burst into tears at the end. Dad asked her why and her response was she’s never seen Donegal get near Sam Maguire. The passion of those fans really is admirable.

Coming back down to Cork, the support isn’t really the same. Hurling is arguably the most popular sport down in Cork, with Donal Óg Cusack arguably one of the most inspirational and best goalkeepers in the country. As a fan of both codes, (maybe football more) I’d love if the support was evenly-balanced.

Cork footballers like Graham Canty (who I can honestly say is equally inspiring with his ‘never give up’ attitude) deserve a bit of respect too.

Now that hurling is in a bit of a dark zone (I’m very positive and believe Jimmy Barry Murphy’s team are underdogs for the Liam McCarthy) football’s popularity should be on the up. But at every match, I go to I still see the same faces staring back at me.

The Munster Final last year really was an eye-opener. I could easily spot my three friends that day in the Gaelic Grounds! Why? Because there was little over 9,000 people there.!

Compare the football final to the hurling final in Munster. There were over 40,000 people gathered in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, just from Tipperary and Waterford.

What I’m saying is, is it fair that people who have been forking out money time and time again to attend matches, get treated the same way as someone who just wants tickets for the final?

And remember, GAA fans, if you can turn off your TV and turn on your passion, you will not only be helping you county or club, but also yourself. In the meantime, if you’re looking for me, you’ll find me is in a stadium surrounded by fans, or in a field, cheering on my club and county. After all, they do deserve it. And not just on All-Ireland day.


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