Tuesday 24 October 2017

Leinster lead way with three provinces seeing surge in attendances

Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Leinster lead the way in a crowd surge which will see overall attendances at the four provincial championship up by at least 17 per cent on last year.

Over 55,000 is expected in Croke Park for Dublin v Kildare next Sunday, resulting in an overall increase of 20,000 on the 2016 Leinster football championships.

Last year's Dublin v Westmeath final drew 38,855 but there's far more interest in next Sunday's pairing which will see Jim Gavin's men bidding for a record-breaking seventh successive provincial title while Kildare are attempting to win the Delaney Cup for the first time since 2000.

The province already enjoyed a bonanza with the hurling championships where attendances rose by 45,939 on 2016. A record turnout of over 60,000 for the Galway-Wexford final played a major part in the increase.

Increase

It's possible that Dublin v Kildare could beat that but even if it comes in at around 55,000, it will leave Leinster with an overall increase of around 30 per cent for the football and hurling championships.

Munster have also enjoyed a sizeable upswing. Connacht are up marginally, leaving Ulster as the only province to show a decrease.

Munster are up 23 per cent on last year, thanks mainly to the hurling championship where the total attendances for the four games went by up 27,119 to 127,997.

Football also showed an increase of 5,934. Despite a drop of 5,000 on the corresponding Galway-Roscommon football final last year, the Connacht football championship increased by 1.5 per cent.

Excluding two replays in last year's Ulster semi-finals, attendances are down eight per cent on the corresponding 2016 games.

Donegal v Tyrone drew 33,433 for last year's final, a figure that's expected to be matched for Down v Tyrone next Sunday. Offaly v Westmeath was the only drawn game in this year's provincial championships.

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Irish Independent

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