Saturday 18 January 2020

Low take on Royals' visit

Dublin’s Jim Gavin
Dublin’s Jim Gavin

Leinster GAA chiefs are expecting to breach the 40,000 barrier for Sunday's Croke Park clash of Dublin of Meath.

That would mirror last year's Leinster final crowd of 41,728 for the holders' defeat of Laois, but represents a big drop on previous Dublin-Meath finals.

As Jim Gavin's all-conquering crew seek a record ninth consecutive provincial title, it's a measure of the Leinster championship's plummeting status that the 82,300 capacity stadium might only be half-full.

"We'd hope 40 to 45,000, all going well," Leinster chairman Jim Bolger told The Herald.

While over 20,000 tickets had been pre-sold by yesterday, Bolger admitted the final attendance was still hard to call. "It's just gone unpredictable now. You don't know what Dublin turnout you will get," he added.

Bolger reported "positive enough vibes" from Meath in terms of supporter interest for their first Leinster SFC decider since 2014, which attracted 62,660 fans to GAA HQ.

But having lost that final by 16 points, and with Dublin winning their next four by margins of 13, 15, nine and 18 points, Leinster football's reputation has never been lower.

Ex-Dub Senan Connell expressed concern about dwindling crowds, adding: "There has been a malaise for a few years."

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