Attendances at club games in Kilkenny have enjoyed a huge bounce after the excitement generated by the thrilling All-Ireland final and replay.
Since the start of the championships, particularly the senior hurling involving most of Brian Cody’s heroes, fans have been flocking to games in greater numbers than for many a year.
Jenkinstown was packed for the first round clash between senior champions, Clara and James Stephens.
That attendance was topped when Clara moved to Nowlan Park on Saturday for the meeting of champions, league and championship, against O’Loughlin Gaels.
And in Thomastown the same afternoon, the howling wind and rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of supporters for the Carrickshock versus Rower-Inistioge match. This drew a massive crowd that prompted local officials to describe it as “amazing”.
The County Board hasn’t the exact percentage increases because the ‘gates’ for these matches are divided by the clubs involved, but a spokesman has confirmed “a definite boom”.
Clubs are thrilled, because good gates mean good returns for them. The County Board here operates in a different manner to most counties and it only takes the gate money from the semi-finals and finals.
All returns up to that are shared by clubs.
Meanwhile, the good times are expected to continue to roll when two quarter-finals are played on Saturday.
The Rower-Inistioge and Carrickshock will replay their drawn match in Thomastown (2pm), while Ballyhale Shamrocks and Danesfort will clash in the James Stephens grounds on the Kells Road (4.30pm).
There is likely to be a strong sprinkling of new All-Stars involved, and who knows, probably the Hurler of the Year too, with Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan and T.J. Reid two of the three contenders for that award. The All-Stars will be known on Friday night.
Shamrocks are hoping to have former Hurler of the Year, Michael Fennelly back after suffering a knee injury in the All-Ireland final. He missed the recent Shield final against Dicksboro.
He is making good progress, but a decision on his fitness will be left until hours before the game.
The draws for the senior semi-finals are expected to be made at the weekend.
It has been confirmed that the Kilkenny hurlers will spend their post championship holiday in Miami, Florida. The party will depart on December 30 and return on January 10.
The All-Ireland medal presentation night - senior and minor - will be held in Cillin Hill on Friday, November 7. Sky Sports commentator, Rachel Wyse will be the MC.
Finally, at a hearing in Croke Park last week, Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody, was warned as to his future conduct in media interviews following his well publicised remarks about the referee in the drawn All-Ireland final.
The authorities ruled the remarks did not discredited the ’Association.