Thursday 27 July 2017

Leinster hurling final set to out-score football in turnout battle

 

Davy Fitzgerald. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Davy Fitzgerald. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The attendance at the Leinster hurling final is on course to beat the football turnout for the first time in 20 years.

According to the Leinster Council, indications are that more than 50,000 spectators will be in Croke Park for Sunday's first-ever provincial final clash between Galway and Wexford.

Having beaten Kilkenny in the semi-final, Wexford's rise under Davy Fitzgerald (pictured), which has taken them to the Leinster decider for the first time since 2008, has attracted a massive surge of interest in the county.

And with Galway on a high as Allianz League champions and All-Ireland favourites, they are expected to bring much larger than usual numbers.

Last year's Kilkenny-Galway final attracted 29,377, a figure which was already beaten in advance bookings early this week.

The average attendance for the last five seasons was 30,762.

The 40,000 barrier was last broken in 2006. However, that was a double-header, featuring Wexford v Kilkenny in the hurling final and Wexford v Offaly in the football semi-final.

The last time the Leinster hurling final attracted more than the football decider was 1997 when 55,492 watched Wexford, the reigning All-Ireland champions, beat Kilkenny while Offaly beat Meath in front of 46,047 in the football final.

Dublin's demolition of Westmeath in last Sunday's football semi-final is likely to have a negative impact on the turnout for the All-Ireland champions' meeting with Kildare on July 16.

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Irish Independent

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