The Munster Council are expecting a crowd no bigger than 25,000 for this Sunday’s meeting of Clare and Waterford.
The clash of Cork and Tipperary in the Munster hurling quarter-final earlier this month attracted just under 30,000 spectators to Semple Stadium, but Munster Council officials are estimating a smaller crowd in Thurles this weekend.
Recent Munster championship meetings between Clare and Waterford in 2010 (11,027), 2012 (12,296) and 2013 (12,103) failed to draw significant attendances, while their league final clashes earlier this year brought crowds of 20,481 (drawn fixture) and 14,210 (replayed fixture) to Thurles.
“We are expecting a crowd of between 20,000 and 25,000 on Sunday and ticket sales would indicate that we are on track to meet this,” said Munster Council PRO Ger Ryan. “What end of that scale the official attendance will be on Sunday will depend on the weather and all of that. We would be very happy with a crowd of somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000.”
Attendances at Munster championship games for the month of May— two football, one hurling — show a 22% increase on the same month last year.
There was an 8% drop in the numbers who watched the Munster SFC quarter-finals — 6,527 in 2015 by comparison with the 5,095 present at last Sunday’s games in Limerick and Dungarvan respectively — but the overall figure (34,209) surpasses its 2015 equivalent (28,020) thanks largely to the 29,114 present for the hurling meeting of Cork and Tipperary.
Overall attendance figures from the 20 games played across the four provinces — three in Munster, Ulster and Connacht, and 11 in Leinster — are down by 15%, dropping from 134,955 for the month of May in 2015 to 115,354 for the same period this year.
Ulster SFC attendance figures dropped from 43,701 in May of 2015 to 36,398 in 2016, a 20% fall. There was an 11% spike in Connacht, crowd sizes jumping from 12,083 to 13,657.
In Leinster, the absence of the Dublin footballers from the schedule last month resulted in a 39% decrease by comparison with 2015 — 51,151 passed through the turnstiles last May, with that figure falling significantly in 2016 to 31,090.
Indeed, with the All-Ireland football champions on the road for their Leinster championship opener this weekend and Ireland’s involvement in the Euros, attendance figures for June are likely to similarly struggle.
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