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Pubs eye big weekend with fans out in force

Publicans in the Croke Park area are preparing for a full-on party this weekend for the eagerly awaited semi-final between Dublin and Cork.

Final preparations are now underway in the popular GAA watering holes with most pubs predicting the Blue Brigade will put on an impressive display against the Rebel County tomorrow afternoon.

Speaking to the Herald, Eoin Quinlan of Quinn's pub in Drumcondra said: "We'll be flat out on Sunday for sure; there is already great banter around. I've had a few Cork punters in already giving me grief and all the stats about when the teams last met so I think the atmosphere will be fantastic.

"It's always great to see Dublin getting through. We'll have a mix of fans in from both sides so we have blue and navy, and red and white bunting up to please everyone. I think if Dublin get the psychology right then they will beat Cork."

Mr Quinlan said that despite the low attendances to date at championship matches this year in Croker, business is going well.

"The season has been good. We have nothing to complain about but we're very lucky to be a sports pub beside Croke Park," he added.

Tom O'Connor of the hugely popular Hill 16 pub on Gardiner Street said: "I think this could be our year. Cork are the best team in the country if they play to their full potential but they haven't been playing well all year so I think Dublin can do it.

"We'll have the flags out to drive the Cork fans mad and we're looking forward to it."

Ronan Brady of Fagan's pub in Drumcondra said he's hoping Dublin win because it means better business for pubs in the area.

"We're expecting it to be very busy with a mixture of fans. There should be a great buzz in the area and Croke Park will hopefully be sold out."

Dublin fans are already turning to online sellers as the last minute scramble for tickets begins.

The eagerly awaited semi-final which throws-in at 3.30pm, is already extremely close to an 82,300 sell-out -- for the first time in this year's championship.

A spokesperson for Croke Park said: "The Hill and the terrace are completely sold out but there are still some tickets on sale for some of the stands."

aanderson@herald.ie