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GAA president hopeful of crowds of 36,000 at All-Ireland semi-finals

Larry McCarthy is also optimistic of an even bigger crowd being permitted to attend the All-Ireland finals.

File photo of GAA president Larry McCarthy.
File photo of GAA president Larry McCarthy.
Image: Tom O'Hanlon/INPHO

Updated Jul 12th 2021, 5:00 PM

THE CAPACITY LIMIT at Croke Park has been raised to 18,000 for this weekend’s Leinster hurling final, which will be the nation’s highest sporting attendance since the outbreak of the pandemic. 

And the GAA hope that the permitted attendance at Croke Park will be twice that by the time the All-Ireland semi-finals come around, which are pencilled in for 7-8 August in hurling and 14-15 August in football.

“We’ve made very good progress in terms of the inter-county attendances over the last couple of weeks, thanks to the Minister for Sport Jack Chambers. We’re now looking at 18,000 in Croke Park next weekend,” Larry McCarthy told Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1.

“Hopefully, we’ll ratchet that up maybe to twice that by the All-Ireland semi-finals. I’m being hopeful here. Maybe we might even see more crowds at an All-Ireland finals.

“But it all depends on our ability to stick to the public health guidelines. And it all depends on the variant as well obviously. We will continue to be extremely careful. The clubs and the county boards have done a phenomenal job in terms of managing this. Hopefully, we will see larger crowds and, as I said to the Minister last week, the more the merrier.

“We don’t know what’s coming down the track. I have a lot of concerns about the various variants and our ability to cope with it. But we’re on the right track. We’re seeing participation, we’re seeing kids come back into camps. We’re seeing club games going on up and down the country.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to keep on the right track through the autumn because we need county championships to be run effectively so that our county boards can generate some income so we can begin to fund our teams again for the next season – 2022.”

McCarthy was speaking in the aftermath of the hurling qualifier draw, which paired Clare with Wexford.

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Gavin Cooney

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