Photo: Irish Examiner
The LGFA takes centre-stage at Croke Park tomorrow, with All-Ireland finals at Junior, Intermediate and Senior levels all taking place. In the big one at 4pm it’s Mayo against Dublin and chances are that many of those who were there last Sunday will be back again at Croke Park tomorrow.
The Connaught Telegraph reported yesterday (here) that ticket sales for tomorrow’s triple-header were already in excess of 40,000. The record attendance at a ladies final was set last year, when 34,445 turned up to see the Cork/Dublin decider. Ourselves and Dublin are the two best supported counties in the country so I guess it’s no surprise that, between us, that high watermark will be smashed by a considerable margin tomorrow.
I’ve done a bit of rummaging round online just now to see if I can find any records for the best attended women’s sporting events. The highest one I can come across – in the world – is this year’s FA Women’s Cup final, which drew a crowd of 35,271.
Assuming tomorrow’s attendance tops that, which, on the basis of those ticket sales numbers, is pretty much guaranteed, then I think a bold claim may be made. It could well be the best attended women’s sporting event in the world. Period, as Sean Spicer would say.
Tomorrow’s senior final isn’t all about Cora Staunton but how appropriate it is that this legend of Gaelic football is back one more time at Croke Park. Edwin McGreal did a stats piece in the Mayo News this week on Cora (here), where the numbers he quotes in relation to her inter-county career are, at every level, simply phenomenal. She truly is a one-off.
But Cora would be first to remind you that she’s just one member of the team. It’s an outfit that blends youth and experience to good effect and it’s also a team, as captain Sarah Tierney explains in this piece in yesterday’s Irish Examiner with Jackie Cahill, that’s on a mission.
Last year they lost in agonising circumstances against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final. Tomorrow, against the same opposition, comes the chance on the big stage to gain revenge and, with it, a fifth LGFA senior All-Ireland title for the county.
It’s set to be a memorable day in many ways at Croke Park tomorrow. What a fitting end to the inter-county year it would be from our point of view to see the ladies come away from HQ with the Brendan Martin Cup. Best of luck to them in tomorrow’sAll-Ireland final.