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GAA set for €4m bonanza with 125,000 fans to attend the quarter-finals

Sunday double-bill to attract biggest crowd at headquarters since 2019 football replay

Sunday's double-header should see the biggest attendance at Croke Park since the 2019 All-Ireland SFC final replay between Dublin and Kerry, above. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Croke Park is braced for its biggest GAA crowd since before Covid with up to 75,000 expected to attend Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final double-header at GAA HQ.

The ‘full house’ sign may not quite be up for the meeting of Armagh and Galway (1.45), followed by the clash of Kerry and Mayo (4.0), but Croke Park is expected to be rocking with few spaces among the 82,300-capacity stadium.

With attendance capped at 50pc for last year’s All-Ireland finals and no spectators allowed for the 2020 deciders, Sunday will mark the biggest crowd at Croke Park for GAA action since the 2019 All-Ireland SFC final replay.

Spectators are talking with their feet as the championship nears its crescendo and after record online sales when tickets were released last Tuesday, around 125,000 people are expected to visit Croke Park between Saturday and Sunday – generating a €3m bonanza.

“It’s gone like a rocket, they’re running out of seats for Sunday,” Alan Milton, the GAA’s director of communications, said. “They’re not predicting a sell-out but they think it will be the biggest attendance since the 2019 All-Ireland final.

“The quarter-final pairings involving Dublin would normally be the stronger one because of their population base and they’re in the capital but it’s nearly a role reversal. We could have 125,000 people in Croke Park this weekend which is not an insignificant figure in global sport, never mind Irish sport.”

Anything up to 55,000 people are expected to attend Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final double-header between surprise packets Clare and Derry, as well as the meeting of Dublin and Cork, with Milton thankful that normality is finally resuming.

“It’s hugely encouraging that people are making a choice to come to our games and the fact that they’re outdoors is a huge factor too,” he added.

“It’s great because it took two years for everyone, not just the GAA. During Covid it was hard for everyone and people that came to Croke Park pined for those days again. It’s great that they appear to be back and hopefully they’re here to stay.”

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