Sport GAA

Thursday 23 May 2019

GAA poised for €3m bonanza following bumper Croke Park weekend


More than 100,000 are expected at Croke Park this weekend. Photo: Sportsfile
More than 100,000 are expected at Croke Park this weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney​

The GAA are bracing themselves for a bonanza weekend, with approximately 150,000 patrons set to come through the turnstiles and boost coffers to the tune of an estimated €3m.

With two mouth-watering Croke Park double-headers featuring the opening round of the inaugural All-Ireland SFC 'Super 8s', more than 100,000 are expected at GAA HQ this weekend as the football season finally kicks into gear.

That massive windfall for the GAA comes on the back of last week's Michael Buble concert, while Taylor Swift and The Rolling Stones have also played before substantial crowds at the Jones' Road venue already this year.

The headline act is the meeting of All-Ireland champions Dublin and Ulster kingpins Donegal on Saturday evening, which will be preceded by the clash between Tyrone and Roscommon with more than 60,000 expected to attend and tickets are priced from €30.

Sunday's Croke Park attendances for Kildare-Monaghan and Kerry-Galway are unlikely to reach those heights, with the opener colliding with the Kilkenny-Limerick All-Ireland SHC quarter-final in Semple Stadium while the latter throws in at the same time as the World Cup final in Moscow.

Saturday's All-Ireland SHC quarter-final pits Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald against a Clare side he led to Liam MacCarthy Cup success five years ago, but many fans have already conveyed their discontent at the tie being fixed for Páirc Uí Chaoimh as supporters face a minimum of a four-hour round-trip to the Cork city venue.

That, combined with ticket prices of €35, is likely to lead to attendances of approximately 50,000 between the two hurling clashes as last eight matches traditionally haven't been well attended since being introduced in 1997.

Meanwhile, Stephen Cluxton is set to return from injury in Dublin's Super 8s clash with Donegal after missing his first championship game in 14 years during their comprehensive Leinster final victory over Laois.

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The inspirational Dublin goalkeeper was forced to sit out the provincial decider after sustaining suspected rib damage after a dangerous tackle from Longford's James McGivney forced him off in the first half off their semi-final defeat of Longford.

Evan Comerford deputised between the posts on both occasions but Cluxton, a five-time All-Star net minder, looks set to reclaim the No 1 shirt after winning his fitness race in what is a huge boost for Jim Gavin's four-in-a-row chasing Dubs.

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