On a rather chaotic and negative news day from a Covid-19 point of view, this morning’s report by John Fogarty in the Irish Examiner (here) that crowds of at least 5,000 might be allowed at this year’s provincial finals had the feel of a development swimming strongly against the tide.
There’ll be 8,000 punters in Croke Park this Saturday for the Leinster SHC semi-final double-header and, according to the piece linked above, the expectation is that crowds in excess of 5,000 could be allowed to attend the two hurling and four football provincial deciders next month.
Assuming we get over Leitrim the weekend after next, we’d then be playing either Galway or Roscommon in the Connacht final at MacHale Park on Sunday, 25th July. If a crowd of over 5,000 is permitted to attend that game at the Castlebar venue it means there’ll be one hell of a scramble for tickets for it.
That piece was, though, published before the Cabinet today – at the behest of NPHET – put the brakes on the full reopening of the hospitality sector early next month. It remains to be seen, in light of today’s government decision on indoor hospitality, what’s now going to happen with spectators’ attendance at outdoors sporting events.
Today’s developments mean it wouldn’t be the biggest shock of all time if the current plans to allow the fans back in numbers next month also get parked. Maybe that catfight for tickets won’t materialise after all.