Camogie bosses hoping for 20,000 fans as Cork and Kilkenny renew rivalry

Over 20,000 fans are expected to attend Sunday’s All-Ireland camogie finals at Croke Park.

Camogie bosses hoping for 20,000 fans as Cork and Kilkenny renew rivalry

By James O’Connor

Over 20,000 fans are expected to attend Sunday’s All-Ireland camogie finals at Croke Park.

And officials admit the growing rivalry between Cork and Kilkenny — who contest the senior decider — is helping to grow interest in the sport.

“We’re very lucky that a crunch rivalry has developed between Cork and Kilkenny,” Camogie Association spokesman Cian Nelson said of the pairing which have battled it out in the last two All-Ireland finals.

With Cork winning the Championship last year and Kilkenny winning the 2018 league it really adds a spice to the fixture. There was only a puck of the ball between them in the 2017 final and that excitement is needed in the game. While counties like Galway and Tipperary still have a bit of catching up to do, having a rivalry in our sport draws in viewers and fans.

And that assertion is backed up by patrons through the turnstiles: “Attendances have also gone up this year. While the group stages were similar to previous years we hit 3,500 for a semi-final, that’s up 1,000 from last year so the crowds are definitely growing. For the final, we’ll be hoping to break 20,000 spectators.”

Nelson admits live coverage on RTÉ continues to reap rewards.

“For the first time we’ve had all knockout matches broadcast live so to have camogie on television in prime-time slots is so important. Also, we launched our biggest ever marketing programme, this year, the GoTogether campaign.

The key is for us is to get out of our comfort zone, spread the game to people outside the camogie community and keep it on an upward curve.

It has not been all plain sailing for the Camogie Association though who were in the headlines once more with their Ladies Football counterparts following an All-Ireland semi-finals fixtures clash. But Nelson notes that the issue was resolved quickly.

“The positive I have from that situation is that every clash between the camogie and football teams was rectified quickly this year. Obviously, it’s not ideal to happen but it’s not as straightforward as it seems to onlookers. When you are all trying to work round camogie, football and hurling,TV rights, and everything else, it’s hard to deal with.

“In times gone by these issues may not have been resolved but thankfully we were able to do that.”

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