Limerick hurling fans are gearing up for another big day out this weekend, with thousands of supporters expected to descend upon Semple Stadium in Thurles for the All-Ireland quarter-final against Kilkenny on Sunday.
Although reigning All-Ireland champions Kilkenny are firm favourites with the bookies, it appears that Limerick fans will flock to Thurles in large numbers to support John Allen’s team.
As many as 10,000 Limerick supporters are expected to make the journey to the Tipperary venue on Sunday and Limerick county board secretary Mike O’Riordan is advising supporters to purchase their tickets as early as possible.
He said: “We’re looking at an attendance of around 35,000 on the day and there could be up to 10,000 of those from Limerick.”
By early this Wednesday afternoon over 27,000 tickets had been sold.
“A limited number of tickets are still available from the Gaelic Grounds, but they’re going very quickly so we advise supporters to book early so as to avoid disappointment.”
Latest indications suggest that seated tickets have almost sold out, apart from seats at the periphery of the two stands.
The bookies have Limerick as 13/2 outsiders, and although the Shannonsiders pulled off a notable victory against Clare a fortnight ago, they will very much be underdogs against Brian Cody’s Kilkenny.
It will be the first championship meeting between the two counties since the 2007 All-Ireland final, when Kilkenny ran out winners on a score of 2-19 to 1-15.
Richie Bennis, who was Limerick manager that day, believes that the Treaty men have a genuine chance of upsetting the Cats and expects a large travelling support from the county.
“I think we have every chance of winning if we produce the hurling we’re capable of. Moral victories are no good for this team any more.
“I believe we have a realistic chance of beating Kilkenny. This Limerick team is capable of scoring goals and, as the cliché goes, goals win games.
“I think the fans will come out and support the team. For the first time since 2007 they have a real confidence in this team and that can then rub off on the team.”
The match throws in at 4pm and is part of a double-header at Semple Stadium, with the other quarter-final between Cork and Waterford starting at 2pm in Thurles.
Iarnród Éireann has announced that there will be a special train for Limerick supporters after the game, departing Thurles at 6:40pm for Colbert Station in Limerick.
Anyone wishing to avail of the match special is advised to book early and they can do so either through www.irishrail.ie or by calling Iarnród Éireann’s customer information centre on 1850 366 222, which is available weekdays from 9am to 5pm.
Match tickets can be purchased from the Gaelic Grounds each day from 9:30am to 5:30pm until Friday. Stand tickets are €30, with terrace tickets priced at €25. Children under 16 are €5 when accompanied by an adult and concessions are available for students and OAPs.