Duffy delighted with attendance figures as fans continue to defy recession
DESPITE the ongoing economic downturn, overall crowds at this year's GAA championships are up by 12.4pc on last year.
The increase applies across all four provinces and the All-Ireland qualifiers, with a total of 686,024 having attended the action so far.
When replays are discounted from the comparison between the two years, this season is up 10.8pc on 2012.
"We're delighted with it. We're always wary at the beginning of the season because you can't be sure from year to year but the games have got a great response this summer," said GAA director general Paraic Duffy.
"We have been lucky in some respects, especially in hurling, which has produced so many incredible games but, in the end, it all comes down to the public having a huge interest in how their counties get on."
Attendances are influenced by how the various pairings work out and since these vary from year to year, it's difficult to get an accurate trend.
However, the fact that crowds are up across the board is very encouraging for the GAA as the championships head into the second half of the season.
"A number of factors worked in our favour this year," Duffy continued. "The progress by Limerick and Dublin hurlers not only boosted crowds in Munster and Leinster but also gave a huge lift to the All-Ireland qualifiers, where games like Kilkenny and Tipperary were always going to be a huge draw.
"Good weather and the fact that there are no major international events like the Olympic Games, World Cup or European soccer championships is also helpful.
"Also, there are very competitive ticket packages in place. We've worked hard at selling the game too and it's good to see everything coming together. Having said that, we never get complacent and we have to make sure the hard work continues for the rest of the season."