Wednesday 25 April 2018

Colm O'Rourke: Royals have enough courage to learn from lastyear's mistakes despite the problems of recent weeks

Colm O'Rourke believes Meath are man enough for the task of upsetting Kildare's all-action style

T he first problem for the Leinster Council today is the prospect of a half-full stadium. It won't look good if three of the best supported counties in the province can't get the turnstiles clicking in over 50,000 punters. There may be parts of Croke Park today where the seagulls and the crows are not disturbed, a sign of ever-changing times.

The Leinster Council is at least aware of another world out there and have adopted a flexible approach towards times and admission rates. In Ulster, the traditional approach is still the same: put on the games and if people don't want to come, then tough. A bit like shooting yourself in the foot and pretending it doesn't hurt. Last week's game between Armagh and Down was great entertainment. If it was not on in opposition to the Champions League final, there would have been more people there. Standing up for our games is honourable but there are times when you must bend in the wind.

This week the main opposition to a big crowd is a combination of indifference, shortage of money and live TV. It would be a good idea not to allow two games from the same venue to be shown live. If just one was on TV it might encourage more people to go but if supporters can sit back and watch both matches and save themselves an amount of money in the process, then that is exactly what many will do.

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