herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Drive on for four

But football crowds dropping back compared to hurling

Dublin manager Jim Gavin
Dublin manager Jim Gavin

Dublin can edge to within 70 minutes of four-in-a-row history this evening.

But for the first time this decade, their All-Ireland SFC semi-final won't be witnessed by a virtual full-house.

Attendance estimates for their Croke Park date with Galway have varied between 60,000 and 65,000, while GAA HQ is anticipating a crowd of 55,000 for tomorrow's second semi-final between Tyrone and Monaghan (3.30).

If those figures prove on the money, it will be the first time since 2009 - when Dublin weren't involved - that com bined hurling semi-final attendances have exceeded football's last-four total.

This year's epic SHC semi-finals attracted 125,264 to Croker, with crowds of 54,191 for the drawn Galway/Clare clash and a whopping 71,073 for Limerick/Cork.

The latter is the highest 2018 attendance in either code and Dublin are unlikely to beat it tonight. They have reached every semi-final since 2010 and each one has attracted over 80,000 punters.

It's debatable whether Sky Blue complacency or a lower turnout from cash-strapped Galway fans, who have a hurling final next weekend, are factors.

Jim Gavin has yet to unveil his team but has a glut of options, with the Sam Maguire holders 1/7 favourites to overcome their fellow league finalists.

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