Saturday 3 December 2016

Paltry crowds show up to Airtricity League games but was clash with Liverpool-United game to blame?

Published 18/10/2016 | 10:26

Conan Byrne celebrates after scoring his side's third goal but very few people were there to see it
Conan Byrne celebrates after scoring his side's third goal but very few people were there to see it

Just 864 fans showed up to two Airticity League Premier Division fixtures last night as tens of thousands tuned in to watch a dire goalless draw between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield.

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Irish Independent soccer correspondent Daniel McDonnell had made a prophetic prediction earlier in the day and that's exactly how things transpired.

Dundalk need just one win from their three remaining games to take the title after a 3-0 win at City Calling Stadium which meant that Longford Town will be plying their trade in the First Division in 2017.

A meagre 495 fans showed up to watch the game.

It was worse at Richmond Park, with 369 supporters turning up to watch St Pat's all but end Cork City's title challenge with a 3-0 victory.

Both games were highly significant in the the race for league honours and for Longford's survival fight but very few people came through the turnstiles.

The league fixtures have come under scrutiny in recent week's with Stephen Kenny's side fighting on three fronts and doing their best despite a fixture logjam.

Richie Sadlier claimed that the poor crowds were not down to the fact that games clashed with one of the biggest Premier League fixtures of the season.

“They are startlingly low numbers, but I don’t think there is anything we can say in relation to this that takes from Dundalk’s success or achievements this season,” he told RTÉ Sport.

“They are two separate things but it does warrant attention.

“You can explain away why the sets of supporters from all four teams involved would stay away last night," he said while highlighting the struggles of Pat's and relegated Longford.

“It was the fourth home game in 22 days for Pat’s, that’s pressure on the same group of people to show up again, and the fourth away trip for Cork in 15 days.

“Longford haven’t won a home game all season. The average attendance is down below a thousand for games in this league.

“That’s more a relevant figure to work off than last night.”

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