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Gauntlet thrown down by Cavan

THE football-mad followers of Cavan have thrown down the gauntlet with speculation mounting that there could be more Breffni U21 supporters than either Dublin or Kilkenny hurling fans in Croke Park this Sunday.

Cavan has gone ticket-crazy this week as the county prepares for its first All-Ireland U21 final in 15 years -- they face Galway in the 2.0pm curtain-raiser preceding the NHL Division One final at 4.0.

"We have about 8,500 tickets gone at this stage. We would be expecting to have at least 12,000 and possibly 15,000 people there," confirmed Cavan PRO Declan Woods.

On that basis, there will be far more Cavan people than Kilkenny fans in Croker, while it remains to be seen how many Dubs opt for a birds-eye view of Sunday's shot at league history, given that just 36,438 watched the footballers last weekend.

Cavan clubs have already snapped up their full allocation, with tickets going on general sale in the county from today. Croke Park has also supplied a mobile ticket unit to meet demand; in Virginia today, provisionally Ballyconnell tomorrow, and Cavan town on Friday and Saturday.

Woods downplayed fears of a mass exodus after the U21 decider, saying bus companies had made it clear they'll be staying until after the hurling final.