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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Bolger: People not bored of watching Dubs

Over 60,000 were in Croke Park in 2010 to see Meath beat Dublin in the Leinster semi-final
Over 60,000 were in Croke Park in 2010 to see Meath beat Dublin in the Leinster semi-final

Just 16,000 tickets have been sold in advance of Sunday's Leinster SFC double-header in Croke Park, although Leinster Council remain hopeful that it will break the 30,000 mark.

Either way, it represents a significant drop in interest from last year, when the Leinster semi-finals brought 39,028 to GAA headquarters.

Dublin, Longford, Laois and Carlow were on that double-bill and given the presence of both Kildare and Meath in this year's semi-finals, the Leinster Council might conceivably have expected an increase in ticket sales.

Fixture

However, interest in the provincial championship, widely considered to conclude with another Dublin win, continues to fall at an alarming rate.

In 2017, Dublin's Leinster semi-final with Westmeath had an attendance of 33,370 for a stand-alone fixture.

However, provincial chairman Jim Bolger rejected the notion that people are becoming growingly bored of watching Dublin win, particularly at this time of the year.

"I don't think so, if you get bored watching good footballers playing at the top of their game I don't know what we'd do not be bored," he suggested.

"They are an exceptional team and we have to acknowledge that. They've set the standard very high for themselves and for others as well.

"At full flow they are a joy to watch, albeit it's not a great place, maybe, if you are on the receiving end."

It is nine years since Dublin were beaten in Leinster.

On that occasion, 60,035 people were in Croke Park despite the fact that Dublin were going for a sixth Delaney Cup success in a row.

Unless there is an unprecedented surge in interest over the next 48 hours, the attendance for Sunday's games could be less than half that figure.

Gate receipts for 2018 declined by 30 per cent for the Leinster SFC and it looks as though there will be another considerable reduction this year.

Bolger said the Leinster Council would explore the possibility of hosting the semi-finals somewhere other than Croke Park should numbers continue to recede.

"If it comes to a stage where we think we should take the semi-finals out, we would do that as well," he explained.

"But at the moment 30,000 is still a significant crowd and we couldn't accommodate it anywhere other than Croke Park if we get to 30 thousand, which it looks like we will."

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