Monday 19 August 2019

GAA set for windfall as fan numbers at Croke Park to hit summer high

 

Clashes between Dublin-Mayo and Kerry-Tyrone are set to draw up to 140,000 fans to Croke Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Clashes between Dublin-Mayo and Kerry-Tyrone are set to draw up to 140,000 fans to Croke Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Croke Park coffers are set for a major boost as the appeal of two enduring rivalries - Dublin-Mayo and Kerry-Tyrone - will see up to 140,000 fans going through the turnstiles this weekend.

While the GAA were initially cautious early yesterday to predict an attendance in excess of 80,000 for Saturday's Dubs-Mayo clash, it soon became apparent that there would be few, if any, tickets available on general sale as the week goes on, with clubs cornering the majority of what is left for the first All-Ireland SFC semi-final.

The demand online and at regular ticket outlets was so great at stages yesterday that potential purchasers were left queuing for up to two hours, prompting criticism of the system in place and shining a light on the six/seven-day turnaround for an All-Ireland semi-final, with a Bank Holiday Monday to factor in as well.

When Dublin and Mayo met in the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final replay, on the first Saturday in September, the game drew 81,897.

When just 54,716 showed up for last year's All-Ireland semi-final between Dublin and Galway, it led to concerns over the effect that Dublin dominance was having on the competition, while the value of Mayo being involved is reflected in the current demands.

A crowd of up to 60,000 is also expected for Tyrone's All-Ireland semi-final with Kerry on Sunday, making it the biggest weekend for Croke Park attendances all summer.

Mayo have already played eight championship games, including their Connacht Championship opener in New York, a qualifier in Newry and the first All-Ireland quarter-final in Killarney. But the appetite for an eighth championship meeting with Dublin in the decade hasn't diminished.

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