Cork beat Down on Sunday to reach the National Football League Division 1 final with Nemo Rangers man Paul Kerrigan describing the atmosphere at GAA headquarters as “surreal.”
A ‘crowd’ of just over 11,000 saw the semi-final double header with the stadium almost totally empty for the second match between Cork and Down.
“When you can hear the ball being kicked it’s a bit different” Cork attacker Kerrigan said.
“I think there is something to be said for going for a double header, us with the hurlers in Thurles or something, you might get a bigger crowd. But we’re not worried about the crowd to be honest with you – we’re up here to do a job.”
Nobody can say that the sparse attendance at Croke Park could not have been predicted. Pundits had said all week that considering the distances fans of all four counties (Cork, Down, Kerry and Mayo) had to travel for the league semi-finals and considering the current economic climate – fans were never likely to travel in any great numbers.
A smarter move might have been to give the top two sides home advantage for the semi-finals. Smarter still might have been to have kept with the old format of no semi-finals and just play a final between the division’s top two sides.