Clash of Cork and Limerick to attract biggest crowd of the summer
An All-Ireland hurling semi-final involving Cork is heading for a 70,000-plus crowd for the second successive year.
Early indications are that Sunday's second All-Ireland semi-final between the Munster champions and Limerick will go close to the 72,022 that watched Cork lose to Waterford in the corresponding game last year.
Cork have the biggest travelling support in hurling and are expected to get behind the team once more for what is their third trip to Croke Park in five years as Munster champions.
Limerick have traditionally brought big crowds to Dublin too and it is thought that the 70,000 barrier can be breached again.
Limerick secretary Mike O'Riordan said sales around the county were very strong and his information was that close to 45,000 tickets had been taken up by yesterday afternoon.
All-Ireland hurling semi-finals have rarely gone over the 70,000 mark. For Limerick's last visit in 2013, when they lost to Clare, there were 62,962 present. Just a week earlier Cork beat Dublin before 62,092.
Officially there were 80,546 in Croke Park for their five-goal demolition of Waterford to reach the 2007 final but that game was coupled with the Kerry-Monaghan All-Ireland football quarter-final.
Other semi-finals involving Cork over the last two decades have drawn considerable crowds, 59,435 for their 2003 game against Wexford and 61,753 when they beat Waterford in 2006 to keep their three-in-a-row challenge on track.
The first semi-final between All-Ireland champions Galway and Clare won't attract the same interest with around 45,000 anticipated.
A move to July semi-finals on the same weekend is a first after years of standalone August games.
Sunday's semi-final will be the biggest crowd of the season in hurling and football.
Cork will be anxious to atone for previous disappointing displays as Munster champions in 2014 and 2017.
The record of the Munster champions in All-Ireland semi-finals has been poor since that Cork team of the mid-2000s with Waterford (2007 and 2010), Tipperary (2008, 2012 and 2015) and Limerick (2013) also losing at the penultimate stage.
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