Ulster Council secretary Danny Murphy has revealed that despite the on-going recession attendances at provincial championship matches, while marginally down, were nonetheless very much in line with the Council’s expectations.
The 34,600 who flocked to last Sunday’s final surpassed the attendance at the Roscommon v Sligo Connacht showdown by 10,000 and was far in excess of the numbers that Dublin, regarded as the biggest box-office attraction in the country, enticed to their recent qualifier games against Tipperary and Armagh.
“We were reasonably happy with our overall attendance figures,” says Murphy.
“These were very encouraging given that we are still in the throes of a recession.
“There is no doubt that the Ulster Championship still retains its intrinsic appeal and this was reflected in the level of interest that the various matches generated.”
Three Ulster sides — Tyrone, Monaghan and Down — still remain in the hunt for the All Ireland football title.
Monaghan play Kildare and Down oppose Sligo in the fourth round of the qualifiers tomorrow while Tyrone have gone straight through to the All Ireland quarter-finals — the draw for which will be made on Sunday evening.
Murphy believes that the enthusiasm for championship matches remains at a high level within the province and is hopeful that Ulster will yet boast a healthy representation in the All Ireland quarter-finals.
“Obviously this weekend will tell a tale in this respect,” adds Murphy.
“We will have to wait and see how things go.
“While there has been an unpredictable dimension to the Ulster Championship this trend has also been in evidence in other parts of the country so we could have a very interesting mix of teams in the last eight of the All Ireland race.”