| 6.2°C Dublin

closed doors 'Different' but Dubs fans still up for Covid final

Close

Pupils at Kilcoskan National School in The Ward, Dublin with their principal and former Dublin footballer, Paddy Christie. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Pupils at Kilcoskan National School in The Ward, Dublin with their principal and former Dublin footballer, Paddy Christie. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Pupils at Kilcoskan National School in The Ward, Dublin with their principal and former Dublin footballer, Paddy Christie. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The roar of the crowd from a floodlit Croke Park should be washing across the city this evening as Dublin take on Mayo.

But the All-Ireland senior football final will be the first with the streets quiet and empty. The pandemic has meant the final will be played behind closed doors, with fans watching the game from their own homes.

Former Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke said the atmosphere among fans in the city was a “mixed bag” and compared it to a “funeral without a corpse” as they await throw-in this evening.

Dublin are aiming to win the Sam Maguire cup for a sixth consecutive year, while Mayo are hoping to end a 69-year winless run.

The Independent councillor, who is a huge supporter of the Dubs, said that locals in the inner city were doing their best to try to create an atmosphere in the build-up.

“In Ballybough they are lining the streets with flags along the route from East Wall up to Croker and Dublin City Council are trying to get a Dublin flag put on the Christmas tree in the area .

“At the end of the day, there is a lot of sadness, a lot of joy – it’s a mixed bag.

“There’s mixed emotions. There isn’t the usual talk about if the crowd will play an advantage, people looking for tickets, none of that. It’s all very low-key.

“We’re all looking forward to it in accordance with the rules. I know a lot of people will be watching it in their living rooms at home,” Mr Burke said.

“Other people have hotels pre-booked for months in advance expecting them to get there.

“Both teams were determined. Mayo are up for it, as you know, and the Dubs are going for the half dozen.

“There’s great commitment on both sides, it’ll be terrific and at the end of the day, I think the Dubs will just shade it. We just ask all to stay safe and enjoy the day.”

Former Dublin player Paddy Christie similarly said he hopes it’ll be a terrific, tight game.

“As a GAA man first and foremost, who likes to see the good of the game, I certainly don’t think I’ll feel in any way bad if Mayo does well,” he said. “It would be good for the game overall.”

Now the principal of Kilcoskan National School on the Meath border, he described the atmosphere as a bit more “low-key” when compared with GAA finals in previous years.

“All the kids are wearing Dublin gear, and talking about the match, but certainly it’s a very different feel.”

The All-Ireland final normally brings a significant boost to the local economy, with an estimated €20m in revenue for the city and a 5pc increase in footfall.

The GAA stands to lose in the region of €8m, with the loss in revenue for ticket sales making up the majority of that figure.

Of course, the lack of fans in the stand will be a strange sight, with Croke Park announcer Jerry Grogan describing working in an empty stadium as “surreal”.

“There are 200 voluntary staff in Croke Park, and only nine of us were required. I felt privileged to be part of it – part of history.”

Grogan said he believes that due to the special circumstances of this year, this final will be similarly remembered like iconic ones from the past such as the 1947 Polo Grounds final in New York.

“I think these finals – the Covid finals – will be looked at in that category. And I think it’s a special privilege to have been part of it.


Online Editors


Privacy