Duffy: attendances holding up
GAA director general Paraic Duffy has expressed satisfaction at how attendances have held up so far this summer, writes donnchadh boyle.
After a weekend that saw the championship fixtures clash with Ireland's opening match in Euro 2012, and with the London Olympics just around the corner, Duffy hasn't seen an obvious drop-off in numbers going through the turnstiles.
"We always felt the hype around the Euros was going to be a challenge in terms of attendances but it hasn't affected us to date," insisted the Monaghan man.
"We are very happy with how the attendances have held up. The biggest factor in terms of attendances has been the weather. Last Sunday week, the weather was bad and that had an effect, but generally speaking it has gone well."
For all that, a crowd of just over 23,000 watched last Sunday's Munster semi-final between Cork and Kerry at Pairc Ui Chaoimh -- a considerable drop from the 40,892 who attended last year's clash between the same teams.
However, that game was played in Killarney and boasted a bigger billing as it was the Munster final.
Duffy defended the decision to play the Dublin v Louth and Longford v Wexford games as a double header at Croke Park, even though only 31,000 turned up.
"We would have hoped for a crowd of at least 35,00 that day, but the bad weather was a big factor," he insisted. "And if 31,000 want to see games, there is no other ground in Leinster that can hold that big a crowd.
Meanwhile, the draw for the first round of the All-Ireland football qualifiers will take place on RTE Radio next Monday at 8.30.
Where a team is drawn away for the second year running, they will receive home advantage. In the event of both teams having been drawn away in 2011, the first team drawn shall have home advantage. Of those already in the draw Westmeath, Louth, Fermanagh, Cavan and Tipperary were drawn away last year.