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Close to 40,000 Donegal fans expected in Croke Park for All-Ireland finals

Supporters at the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final

BY CHRIS MCNULTY
c.mcnulty@donegalnews.com

UPWARDS on 40,000 Donegal fans will manage to get into Croke Park for Sunday’s historic All-Ireland final double header between Donegal and Kerry.

Jim McGuinness’s seniors and Declan Bonner’s minors both face Kerry in their quest for All-Ireland glory.

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This is the first time Donegal will have contested a minor final, while the seniors are back in the final for the second time in just three years.

McGuinness has reported a clean bill of health, while Bonner will give Eoghan Bán Gallagher every chance of declaring his fitness. The Killybegs man missed the semi-final win over Dublin because of a hamstring injury and is rated as doubtful, although he could feature.

Tickets has been the big talking point in Donegal over the last couple of weeks. 16,088 were given to the Donegal County Board while a small additional allocation was given to the county on Wednesday evening which resulted in every club getting seven tickets.

“Every ticket we have has been allocated and there won’t be any more tickets,” Donegal Treasurer Cieran Kelly told the Donegal News.

“The interest has been phenomenal. We have 1,300 extra tickets with the minors involved, but we have 3,500 more members than we had in 2012, so the maths are simple.”

The after-match banquet in the City West Hotel is a sell-out with 1,850 set for the banquet and another 1,000 to attend the after party.
By the time Eddie Kinsella sends the ball into the Dublin air at 3.30 on Sunday, anything in the region of 40,000 Donegal supporters will be in the famous old stadium. Croke Park will be gleaming with green and gold and both teams will wear their traditional colours.

Sunday is the biggest day in the history of the GAA in Donegal with the two teams heading in search of the ultimate prize. The possibility of Niall Harley and Michael Murphy, the team captains, both carrying silverware into The Diamond in Donegal town next week is enough to send shivers down the spine.

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Until Sunday afternoon, at least, that dream remains a possibility.

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