| 8.4°C Dublin

Support has been poor so now let's get behind the Dubs - Bertie

HIS parents hailed from Cork but former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will be shunning any loyalty to the 'People's Republic' next Sunday.

The well-known GAA fan told the Herald that he's far from being torn between two counties and is backing the Boys in Blue all the way when they take on Cork in the eagerly awaited All-Ireland semi-final.

Speaking to the Herald, the Drumcondra native said: "No, I'm not torn.

"We always had a deal in our house to support Cork in the hurling and Dublin in the football.

"I think we only had one crisis in 1974 and then maybe again in 1983."

True blue fan Bertie revealed he would be attending the match with his son-in-law, Nicky Byrne. The Westlife star is a fellow fanatic but according to Bertie, they'll be leaving three-year-old twins Rocco and Jay to watch the match from the safety of their home.

"I'll definitely be going and Nicky will, but it will be too big a crowd for the boys. We only bring them to the earlier games rather than the championship matches but they'll still be kitted out in their Dublin colours," he said.

Bertie is predicting it will be an extremely tough game but believes that after a rocky start, the Dubs have finally found their feet.

"There isn't any doubt it'll be a tough game. Everybody saw what Pat Gilroy was trying to do; he was going to rebuild the team and he used the league to bring in new players.

"He was changing the style of the way the Dublin team play as well.

"They've had a good year but the early match against Wexford was very poor. They were disorganised.

"We were hammered by Meath but that's because every ball Meath kicked was a goal. Since then they have picked it up. They played well against Armagh and Tyrone," he said.

The diehard supporter also called on his fellow fans to come out in force this weekend.



Economy

"The support has been disappointing this year; part of that is due to the economy. I was particularly disappointed in May when the U-21 team were in the All-Ireland final. I was at that game and there was a very poor crowd.

"None of the games have attracted a full house so there should be plenty of tickets for this weekend so let's hope the Dubs will all be out.

"We have some really great players; some of them are very experienced but for others it is their first year in the championship. I would rather if we had big attendances early on because it will be a daunting experience for some of the new players to play in front of a huge crowd.

"We have to be realistic; Cork have been the favourites all year, closely followed by Kerry and Tyrone. With them both out, Cork are the red hot favourites and we are the total outsiders.

"But I'm trying to keep the hype off Dublin, you see, because that's the last thing we need."

aanderson@herald.ie