Sunday 18 August 2019

Tomás Ó Sé - 'The atmosphere in the Dublin game was electric. It was the absolute opposite before the Kerry game'

A view of some of the 33,848 spectators in Croke Park during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Kerry and Tyrone at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
A view of some of the 33,848 spectators in Croke Park during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Kerry and Tyrone at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Tony Considine

It was a tale of two attendances in last weekend’s All-Ireland football semi-finals.

Saturday’s 82,300 Dublin Mayo sell-out sat in stark contrast to the lowly 33,848 who witnessed Kerry’s second-half comeback against Tyrone.

That figure represented the lowest semi-final crowd this century and you actually have to go back as far as the Mayo vs Kerry clash in 1996 to go below it.

There’s been plenty of discussion since around the reasons for the low attendance, with the extra Super 8 games and Dublin’s domination the main conclusions offered.

It’s also not a new phenomenon with a paltry 17,523 paying into the Kerry vs Armagh semi-final when the former were attempting their own drive-for-five in 1982.

But Tomás Ó Sé has taken a different slant on the topic and suggested that the low crowd may have been a factor in the Kingdom’s lethargic first-half performance.

"I thought Kerry had lost it in the first half, I thought there was a lack of intensity in the way they played. I dunno if (the small crowd) had something to do with it," he said, speaking on The Throw-In, Independent.ie’s GAA podcast in association with Bord Gais Energy.

"The atmosphere in the Dublin game was brilliant, it was electric. You could feel tension in the air. It was absolutely the opposite before the Kerry game.

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"I’ve played in those surroundings and it does make a difference when there’s a full house or when it’s half empty. It’s kind of hard to get that bite in it."

There’s obviously no doubt that selling out the final won’t be an issue. Yet with Dublin fans already hunting for tickets wherever they can find them, Ó Sé has called on his countymen to travel en masse and give their inexperienced team a lift as they and prevent the Dubs closing out the five-in-a-row that the Kingdom never managed.

"From a personal point of view in Kerry, you’ll be disappointed with what turned up because we have a young team who are hopefully on the beginning of a good journey and will be around for a while," he explained.

"I was worried for them going in against Tyrone. It was a big game and yet the support wasn’t great. It was roughly 50/50 even with just over a 30,000 crowd. You hear the crowd when there’s kick-outs or scores and it lifts players in a certain way. That wasn’t there with the Kerry game on Sunday."

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