Ticket Rush Starts Early As Dubs Eye A Full House.

EIGHTEEN days to go, and Dublin GAA chiefs are already anticipating a virtual full-house for their fascinating All-Ireland semi-final with Donegal.

Last Saturday’s SFC quarter-final double-header drew a bumper 72,440 – the biggest attendance of the year to date – but Dublin chairman Andy Kettle is convinced that benchmark will be broken when the Leinster and Ulster champions do battle on August 31.

The fact that 15,000 tickets had been sold by early yesterday seems to support Kettle’s forecast of a crowd approaching HQ’s 82,300 capacity.

“I think it will be as close to a sell-out as you’d get,” he told The Herald. “Donegal will bring a big crowd, no doubt in the world about that. There will be a fair deal of interest from neutrals – and a good Dublin crowd, with two teams on the day, the minors as well.”

The reigning champions are being quoted at unbackable 1/10 odds against their 2012 counterparts in the wake of their latest cakewalk (by 17 points against Monaghan) coupled with Donegal’s brush with disaster against Armagh.

But Kettle stressed: “I am sure Jim McGuinness has sat down and worked out some sort of a plan. Whether that plan is possible to be executed, I don’t know, but you can rest assured that he will have something up his sleeve.

“But as Jim Gavin would say, we concentrate on ourselves being the best we can. If that is good enough on the day, so be it. If it’s not up to scratch on the day, then that’s our fault.”

He remains confident that the current group won’t get caught up in the growing debate of a Dublin football dynasty. “The vast majority of them have been there since 2011 so they have been exposed to it before,” Kettle said.

“It’s not something that is going to be new to them, so I would suggest they are better equipped to handle it now. In fairness, the management team keep them well grounded.”

Kettle has yet to sit down with Anthony Daly for a review of Dublin’s hurling campaign and to assess if the Clareman fancies a seventh year at the helm.(The Herald)
Image Credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
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