BY CHRIS MCNULTY
ALL-IRELAND mania has gripped Donegal in the last month – and it reaches its zenith at 3.30pm on Sunday when the 2012 All-Ireland final throws into action.
It is only the second time that Donegal will contest a final and, 20 years after Sam Maguire was last won by a Donegal team, the class of now go in search of the Holy Grail again.
Around 30,000 Donegal fans are anticipated to be lucky enough to be inside Croke Park on Sunday. Just 14,715 tickets were allocated to the Donegal Co Board but, by hook or crook, in excess of 15,000 more are likely to have secured one of the golden tickets.
The demand for tickets has been intense and Croke Park chiefs are reporting unprecedented levels of interest, with hoards of Donegal fans flying in from aboard to get a slice of the action.
‘NEver seen the likes before’
“It is completely unprecedented,” the GAA’s Director of Games Administration, Feargal McGill, told the Donegal News.
“In my twelve years working here in Croke Park, I have never seen interest like this for a final. We have never had this before and it is an amazing time for the people of Mayo and Donegal.”
The county is awash with green and gold, on every street corner hangs a flag or bunting in support of Jim McGuinness’s team. Jersey sales are at an all-time high.
Donegal have no injury worries and the team’s captain, Glenswilly’s Michael Murphy, is the man looking to emulate Anthony Molloy, who in 1992 immortalised those words, ‘Sam’s for the Hills’.
“The support this year – and I seriously mean this from the bottom of my heart – has been absolutely unbelievable,” Murphy said.
“One thing that we always say going into games is that we want to do it for the people of Donegal. When you win it gives an absolutely unbelievable sense of pride.
“The amount of pride that people have again is great to see – and the amount of goodwill out there is just amazing.”
The GAA has said that it expects huge interest in the match abroad because of the large emigrant population from Mayo and Donegal
BY CHRIS MCNULTY