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16th May 2024

Crowd at Leinster semi-final shows Offaly U20s are one of GAA’s best supported teams


The Offaly supporters are certainly fully behind this team.

Offaly hurling supporters have endured something of a famine over the last twenty years. They’ve been starved of success.

The Faithful county experienced many glorious days in the 80s and 90s when, spearheaded by the likes of Brian Whelahan, John Troy, Pat Fleury and the Coughlans, they won four All-Irelands.

The last of those came in 1998 and while Offaly made it to another final in 2000, their status slipped badly over the next two decades.

But the wheel is turning in their favour again.

Having made it to the All-Ireland minor final in 2022 and the All-Ireland under-20 final in 2023, there is a lot of hype about their underage teams and that was epitomised on Wednesday night.

The two Leinster under-20 semi-finals took place on Wednesday.

The Dublin-Galway clash took place in Portlaoise and drew a crowd of under 500 people. The Offaly-Kilkenny tie took place over the road in Tullamore and attracting a blockbuster crowd of 8000.

15 May 2024; Adam Screeney of Offaly celebrates after his side’s victory in the Leinster GAA Hurling U20 Championship semi-final match between Offaly and Kilkenny at Glenisk O’Connor Park in Tullamore, Offaly. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The fact that the Dublin-Galway game was live on TG4 will have taken away from the crowd that travelled to Portlaoise but on the same note, Kilkenny-Offaly was also live on their Youtube channel and on the player.

Whatever way you look at it, it’s an incredible crowd for an underage game.

Take into account for example that there were only 6170 people at Galway and Wexford’s Leinster senior hurling championship clash in Wexford park last month and it gives you some context.

Their supporters were rewarded as with Shane Rigney scoring 2-3 from play, Offaly recorded their first win over Kilkenny in any grade of hurling since 2007.

It’s not the first time that this Offaly side have drawn a bumper attendance, with a record 12,500 showing up for their Leinster minor final against Laois in 2022.

U20 hurling results

Leinster U20HC semi-finals
Dublin 4-17 Galway 0-20, Laois Hire O’Moore Park.
Offaly 2-17 Kilkenny 2-16, Glenisk O’Connor Park.

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