Friday 21 November 2014

Munster rivals' historic clash to boost GAA coffers

Damian Lawlor

Published 17/08/2014 | 02:30

Despite atrocious conditions over 47,000 turned up for the Kilkenny-Limerick All-Ireland hurling semi-final
Despite atrocious conditions over 47,000 turned up for the Kilkenny-Limerick All-Ireland hurling semi-final
10 August 2014; Supporters in the Cusack Stand during the game. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Kilkenny v Limerick, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE

THE GAA may have lost €5m from the cancellation of the Garth Brooks concerts but they stand to earn around €4m following huge interest in the All-Ireland hurling semi-finals and last weekend's football quarter-final double bill.

Over 72,000 attended the All-Ireland football championship double-header last Saturday night and despite atrocious conditions over 47,000 turned up for the Kilkenny-Limerick All-Ireland hurling semi-final the following afternoon.

And at least 55,000 supporters are expected to make the trip to HQ today for the clash between Cork and Tipperary but GAA sources say that figure could rise to 60,000 or more, depending on the weather.

On Wednesday night, 41,000 tickets had been sold and there is huge interest generally in this clash between these two old rivals.

"History will be made between two top counties," the GAA official said. "Tipp and Cork meet in Croke Park for the first time ever in the All-Ireland championship and this has boosted the huge interest in the game.

"It's not just confined to those two counties; it's all over the country. The two teams have produced very high-scoring games in their path to the semi-final as well."

Things certainly couldn't be much closer between the two sides in recent times. They have clashed in every championship from 2004 to 2012 with Tipperary holding five wins and Cork winning four.

Several new faces have been introduced into the respective sides over the past two seasons, which encourages the hope that this afternoon's game could be a memorable semi-final.

Cork have averaging 1-24 per game and Tipp hitting a little more than that, mainly through their sound beating of Offaly in the qualifiers.

The expected windfall is a welcome boost to the Association's coffers after the five-night Brooks extravaganza went by the wayside. Those concerts would put around €5m into the GAA purse and those funds would have filtered down through the counties, funding various projects like the establishment of floodlights, ball alleys, hurling walls, ground development, underage coaching and training equipment for clubs and counties.

Meanwhile, Tipperary's last training session before today's game was made open to the public last Thursday night.

There is no room for Michael Cahill, who had been struggling with injury, in their starting line-up. Dual star Colin O'Riordan could be called into action at some stage this afternoon after being summoned into the squad three weeks ago following the Tipperary footballers' championship exit. O'Riordan was in fine form for the county under 21 hurlers despite them losing the Munster final to Clare recently.

Cork captain Pa Cronin will also start the game after being declared fit following a serious knee injury in their Munster final win. Cronin sustained a fracture of the fibula in that provincial decider and had to wear a protective boot for three weeks afterwards, but has managed four training sessions in the past fortnight, proving his fitness to the management.

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