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Saturday 30 August 2014

There's a new Croker roar as Jedward find perfect pitch

Edel O'Connell

Published 21/02/2011 | 05:00

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Jedward running on to the Croke Park pitch to entertain the fans in between Saturday's league double-header matches to the delight of many of the youngsters in the crowd. Photo: Sportsfile
Jedward fan, 13-year-old Nicole McGovern, from Raheny, Co Dublin at Croke Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Jedward fans enjoy the entertainment between games. Photo: Sportsfile

HYPERVENTILATING tweens may not be a typical sight at a GAA event but this was something different.

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Sandwiched between a league double-header at Croke Park -- which saw Dublin take on All- Ireland football champions Cork and hurling champions Tipperary -- was an incongruous but enjoyable performance by the pop duo Jedward.

The event was part of the Dublin County Board's Spring Series, which brought Dublin teams in both hurling and football back to Croke Park for league games for the first time in years.

The new format is an attempt to bridge the gap between the numbers that watch Dublin in the summer months and the attendances that the county's league games attract earlier in the year.

Saturday's game was the first of four planned Spring Series evenings of Dublin GAA between now and April.

A special promotional ticket to see all four double-headers was available for €45, while a stand-alone adult ticket for Saturday's games was €13.

And an impressive crowd of 35,000 attended Saturday night's match, despite the cold weather and fog.

Between the two games the big-haired duo bounced on to the pitch eliciting screams from the stands, and cynical looks from some of the older fans.

"Oh my God we are playing Croke Park. This is so cool," shouted the boys dressed in matching black and white suits and exhibiting infectious levels of energy.

The pair, who are set to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf in May, belted out their entry 'Lipstick' for the first time at an outdoor venue.

The two, who are regulars at Dublin GAA games, later returned to their seats to watch the second game and were not disappointed when Dublin emerged victorious after battling it out against the All-Ireland football champs Cork.

"Absolutely fantastic," was how one Tipperary fan described the new format.

"We are having a fantastic time. It is great for the kids," said Padraig Maloney who attended the matches with his young daughter Ciara.

Different

"Ciara is a huge Jedward fan and she is shouting 'Up Tipp' and 'Up Jedward' all day. We are absolutely loving it, it is something different," he said.

John Peters, from Tipperary, was in the stands with his teenage daughter Anne Marie.

"It's great fun. We are really enjoying it. It's a bit different, but it works," he said.

Mark Barry, from Mallow in Co Cork, said: "It just shows the GAA are thinking creatively and doing something different and they have to be applauded for that.

"I'm not a Jedward fan, but with the right act it could really work," he said.

Tipperary fan Noel Maloney, who holds a season ticket, said he was surprised he had to pay for a ticket for his young daughter to attend the match and also queue up to pick it up.

"It's a bit much being asking to pay for a juvenile. We had to buy a ticket for Leah for €5 and then queue for ages to pick it up, but in the end we had a fantastic time, so I suppose we shouldn't complain even if Tipp did lose," he said.

The remainder of the Allianz League games against Kerry (February 26), Mayo (March 20), and All-Ireland finalists Down (April 2) will also be part of the series, alongside the Dublin hurlers, who face Kilkenny on April 2.

Irish Independent

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