Sunday 25 February 2018

Ulster and Munster lead attendance surge

Attendances have swelled in Munster, including in Páirc Ui Chaoimh
Attendances have swelled in Munster, including in Páirc Ui Chaoimh
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Attendances at the All-Ireland hurling and football championship are up by seven per cent on the same stage last year.

With two more games left in either code next weekend before returning to Croke Park for the big August/September action, it leaves the GAA well-placed to break the 1.5 million barrier.

The total turnout at the provincial championships and the All-Ireland qualifiers so far is 773,270, up 49,522 on last year.


Turnout increased by 24pc on last year, not counting replays in either season. Attendances were up in both codes, with football swelling from 35,268 last year to 57,573 this year and hurling going up from 105,707 to 117,112 (replays excluded). Total attendances this year, including the Kerry-Cork replay were 207,918.

The drawn and replayed Munster football final averaged 33,940, compared with 21,093 for one game in Páirc Ui Chaoimh last year.

The hurling final turnout was up too, as 43,084 saw Tipperary beat Waterford in Thurles this year, compared to 36,060 for Cork v Limerick in Cork last year.


When replays in both years are excluded, the figures are very similar, with 2015 coming in 197 ahead at 250,931.

Despite Dublin's on-going dominance, which led to fears off a fall-off in interest, football held up well overall. The attendance at the Dublin-Westmeath final (49,840) was down 12,842 on the crowd at last year's Dublin-Meath final (62,682) but crowds at the other games compensated.


It's a real success story, with crowds increasing for a fifth success year. They reached a total of 142,935 this year, up 5.6pc on last year. That's up 7,593 on last year and 35,621 higher than in 2011. That average increase per year since then is 7.6pc.

The 2011 figure of 107,229 was the lowest for 25 years, prompting the Ulster Council to launch a new marketing approach, which has proved successful. The process was helped by the competitive nature of the championship, where five of the eight games this year were won by one- to three-point margins.


Figures are down by a modest 610 to 66,407, which was to be expected due to the capacity restriction on Dr Hyde Park for last Sunday's Mayo-Sligo final. It was watched by 23,196, down 3,542 on the Mayo v Galway decider last year.


Attendances across football and hurling are up by two per cent to 138,397.

Irish Independent

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