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Dublin: 4°C Sunday 16 May 2021
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Full house: Dubs v Donegal a sell-out

Over 82,000 people are expected in Croke Park on Sunday for this year’s second football semi-final.

Hill 16 will be packed to capacity again this Sunday as the Dubs take on Donegal for a place in the All-Ireland final.
Hill 16 will be packed to capacity again this Sunday as the Dubs take on Donegal for a place in the All-Ireland final.
Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

FOR THE FIRST time this summer, 82,000 people will pack into headquarters on Sunday as the All-Ireland football semi-final between Dublin and Donegal becomes the hottest ticket in town.

Speaking to Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1, Dublin county board chairman Andy Kettle confirmed this morning that the fixture was a sell-out, leaving thousands of Dubs and travelling Donegal supporters empty-handed.

“It is our understanding that they’re all gone,” Kettle said.

Our clubs’ orders have been filled, but the word we got yesterday from Croke Park was that if clubs come looking for extra tickets, they won’t be available.

Sunday’s crowd is expected to at least match the official figure of 82,225 which attended last year’s semi-final between Cork and Dublin. Slightly less than 82,000 fans attended the finals of last year’s football and hurling championships.

However, attendance figures have noticeably declined this season, with less than 23,000 present in Croke Park for the quarter-final double-header between Kerry-Limerick and Cork-Mayo last month.

That decline, Kettle said, can be largely put down to the country’s economic situation, but the recent success of Dublin’s hurlers and footballers have meant that crowds haven’t suffered as badly when the boys in blue are on the bill.

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“I suppose the economic situation would have a lot to do with it,” Kettle said, “but on this occasion, the interest in gaelic games in Dublin is quite high.”

“That’s down in no small part to both codes, the hurlers and the footballers, performing well.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to get into an All-Ireland final again and hopefully if we can negotiate the very formidable hurdle of Donegal, the big prize of Kerry is waiting for us down the road.

That’s always a dream for Dublin to get in against Kerry and hopefully to beat them in an All-Ireland final.

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Niall Kelly

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