O’Gorman: turnout a disappointment

MUNSTER Council chairman Jimmy O’Gorman has admitted that the attendance for last Sunday’s Munster SHC between Clare and Tipperary fell below pre-match expectations.

Provincial chiefs had predicted a 25,000 crowd but just 20,872 spectators clicked through the turnstiles, with Clare apathy pinpointed as the main reason for the low turnout.

O’Gorman said: “I thought we’d make 25,000 on Sunday. I think Clare didn’t really come out and support the team but now they know that they should have. They have a great manager in Mike McNamara, a totally committed hurling man.”

The attendance of just over 15,000 for Saturday’s semi-final replay between Waterford and Limerick at Semple Stadium was welcomed by O’Gorman, who paid tribute to supporters of both counties who have been hit badly by the economic crisis.

O’Gorman explained: “You must remember that they have suffered severely in the employment situation. Hundreds of jobs were lost at Waterford Crystal while the situation with Dell in Limerick has directly and indirectly affected thousands of jobs.

“A lot of people working in those places are our hardcore fans while the weekend brought concerts and other attractions.

“You must remember too that in 2002, when Clare played Tipperary in a Munster semi-final in Limerick, there were only 23,000 at the game when things were on the crest of a wave and people had surplus money.

“We had 25,000 for the first Limerick-Waterford game, 12,000 from each county and 7,000 each on Saturday was not bad. We know that attendances are down but there is a valid reason why they are.”

O’Gorman is nevertheless anticipating a bumper Munster final attendance of at least 45,000 on July 12 when his native county Waterford lock horns with champions Tipperary.

A special series of events are planned around the Thurles weekend as part of the GAA’s 125 celebrations.

The highlight is a torch relay spanning Clare, Limerick and Tipperary which will begin at Michael Cusack’s home in Carron, Clare and end in Thurles on Saturday, July 11.

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