Sunday 15 September 2019

Leinster Council taking a big hit as gate receipts continue to fall

Leinster chief executive Michael Reynolds. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster chief executive Michael Reynolds. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The Leinster Council are expected to barely break even with an attendance of just 30,000-35,000 expected for Sunday's Croke Park senior football semi-final double-header featuring the three traditionally best-supported teams.

Leinster chief executive Michael Reynolds said concern about attendances is ongoing as the spectre of a dominant Dublin looms over the province.

Reynolds acknowledged that an attendance of 14,380 at the recent quarter-finals in Portlaoise involving Dublin, Louth, Meath and Carlow was a low point.

Leinster gate receipts declined by 30pc in 2018 and they look set for a further fall this year.

Even in 2016, when the Leinster semi-finals clashed with Ireland's World Cup knockout game with France and the times were pushed back, 42,259 attended with Dublin, Kildare and Meath involved. In 2011, Dublin v Kildare drew 58,324 for a semi-final. Now they'd be content with a little over half that crowd.

"There is no point in trying to camouflage it. That's where we are with these figures. Even Kildare and Longford, 4,300 on Sunday, 10 years ago you wouldn't have even considered such a figure for that game," said Reynolds.

"The neutrals can make a difference, but there isn't enough in it for them at the moment."

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