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Biggest crowd of year expected for Dubs v Royals

THE tens of thousands of fans who pack into Croke Park this weekend will be hoping for a Dubs double -- including stadium chiefs.

All-Ireland champs Dublin take on Meath in the Leinster final in front of an expected crowd of 65,000 while the minor sides from both counties will also be meeting in the provincial decider.

It will be the biggest gathering at GAA headquarters since the All-Ireland final last September -- for a match at least. While Royal County supporters have taken up a sizeable amount of the allocation, they will be vastly outnumbered.

Stadium director Peter McKenna told the Herald tickets are selling very well. "There has been a very strong demand," he said. "It will be the biggest crowd since Dublin beat Kerry in last year's All-Ireland final."

Mr McKenna said: "We've had four or five weeks of really, really bad weather -- the rain has been unrelenting -- but I'm pleased to say the pitch is in remarkably good condition. It looks very, very well. Obviously we're looking forward to this match. The old rivalry of Dublin and Meath is brilliant. It's set up for a great clash, that's for sure."

He added: "When you live and work in the city, you'd always want a Dubs double, but I just think that Meath are far too smart not to make a real game of it.







Rivalry

"There's always a historical rivalry which transcends matters between Dublin and Meath -- you go back to the four-in-a-row some years ago. So there's a lot of rivalry between Dublin and Meath. They're two great teams and two great pedigrees." The GAA has been reasonably pleased with attendances so far. "There's no doubt the downturn has had an effect on disposable income but our numbers have held up strongly."

comurphy@herald.ie