Blues' golden tickets
HUNDREDS of Dublin's die-hard fans braved the cold winds to nab one of the golden tickets for Sunday's All Ireland final.
More than 500 lucky season ticket holders arrived at the GAA ticket office on Dorset Street yesterday to snap up their allocations for Sunday's showdown with Kerry.
Lining up from as early as 8am, fans waited for hours in the sharp winds on behalf of friends and family -- to finally get their hands on the valuable tickets for the All-Ireland.
The most sought-after man in Dublin was Ballymun native Darren Kelly, who protectively showed off his 11 tickets for the title decider.
After being entrusted with 10 of his pals' prized Parnell Park passes, Darren arrived at the Dorset Street office early in the morning to pick up his allocation for the big day.
He said: "There are 22 of us going to the game and we'll be proudly cheering from our usual spot on the Hill, right behind the goal.
"Everyone will arrive at my house on Sunday and we'll distribute them -- it'll be great craic, we're making a whole day of the occasion."
Darren will be hoping to add another badge to his favourite Blues scarf come Sunday.
"Since I was a kid I have collected badges, I even have one my dad gave me from the 60s," he told the Herald.
But that's not all -- the 31-year-old taxi driver will be adding another match programme to the boxes stored away in his home collection: "I have hundreds of programmes which I've kept from games as far back as when I was eight-years-old -- I can't wait to add another All-Ireland one to the mix," he added.
The first person to reach the desk at 10am was Ronan Maguire, from Rathfarnham, who queued patiently for over two hours.
"The wait was definitely worth it," he insisted as he collected his six tickets.
"I collected them for myself, my family and two mates. They couldn't get the morning off work so I said I'd gladly go. I wrapped up warm and off I went," said the 29-year-old.
"It feels great, it was a long wait this morning and 16 years is a long time coming for Dublin too -- I was a school kid for the last final in 1995."
Another Dub among the 500 strong that gathered was Sean Moore -- on the scene to help out his son John, who is out of the country. "John is away on holidays in Sardinia so we arranged beforehand that I'd collect the ticket for him," the Clontarf man told the Herald.
"When he found out the day the tickets were out he almost cancelled his holiday."
Parnell Park is offering up to 2,000 season pass holders the chance to attend the Championship battle.
St Vincent's member Anne Moloney was another fan given the responsibility of collecting the covetable €80 Stand allocations. She said: "It was freezing, but it's worth it -- my husband and son couldn't manage to get off work so I volunteered."
Gerard Cleary (28) from East Wall added that nothing can compare to the €130 spent to guarantee a place on the Hill.