Fans travelled far and wide to buy tickets -- and devotion paid off
IT WAS a day to never forget, and a party to barely remember for the tens of thousands of Dublin fans at Croke Park.
As hundreds of thousands more crammed into bars and homes around the capital, those in Croke Park were the lucky ones.
Dubs had searched high and low to secure their tickets for the momentous occasion -- and their efforts paid off in what is certainly a day for the record books.
They outnumbered their Kerry counterparts by at least 2-1.
Favours had been called in all around the country and supporters travelled nationwide to find their golden ticket to witness Gilroy's troops end their 16-year wait for the title.
David Glynn and Lorraine McDonagh were on hand to proudly cheer on Ballyboden lad Michael Darragh Macauley.
Thrilled they got to see the Blues in the final, the Tallaght couple almost missed out on the big event. "We had to trek to a wedding in Galway on Saturday to get our tickets," said David.
"I risked losing Lorraine to a Connacht man -- but we got lucky eventually because we met someone who happened to have spare tickets," he told the Herald.
"It was so worth it in the end."
Rathfarnham man Eamonn Higgins arrived home from holiday the day before the final fixture and said there was a scramble to be part of the epic battle. "I got my ticket last minute after landing at the airport -- an uncle in Laois found me one."
"I managed to get mine from a cousin at a wedding in Donegal," added pal Daragh Burke.
"All the tickets in Dublin were sold out because everyone wanted to be there -- the only place we could look was in the countryside."
It was an especially fortunate day for Lusk lass Eimear Dunne, who bagged her Championship seat in a radio competition.
"My husband won it through a radio competition only on Friday morning, we couldn't believe it because I tried everywhere to find a ticket.
"Tickets were like gold dust, so we were delighted to win them and see the boys in action -- it made the day more special being here," Eimear added.
Although Susin Sheehan entered four competitions and raffles to land a spot in Croker, it was thanks to pal Eimear that the Coolock local could cheer on her beloved county.
"We usually go to every match so it would've been devastating not to be here -- it's such an amazing day for the city."
For David Whelan -- pal of All-Star forward Bernard Brogan -- the day was particularly sweet, as he got the chance to toast the silverware and topped off his day with a drink from the Sam Maguire.
"I'm delighted, what a fantastic win for Dublin -- I'm thrilled for Bernard too -- I was with him beforehand in his house to wish him luck," said the St Oliver Plunkett's man.
"He was really looking forward to it and was calmer than I expected."
With a packed-out Croker, 82,000 football lovers applauded the Dubs and their victory over the Kingdom with a one-point win.
Agnes Freeman travelled up from Gorey, Co Wexford, for the weekend and has set up camp in the Burlington hotel to enjoy the celebrations.
"My son Edward (32) and I drove up early, we left Wexford at 8am and had planted ourselves on the Hill by noon.
"We won tickets to the Dub Hub in Flannery's on Friday night as well so we got to meet loads of ex-players including Ciaran Whelan -- it was great fun and a brilliant start to the weekend."
Agnes is hoping to round off her trip with a visit to the Mansion House today.
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