25% increase in attendances for League of Ireland

Mon, Jan 22 2018

Cork City topped the attendance charts for 2017 Credit: Michael P Ryan

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2017 saw Cork City lift the President’s Cup, the FAI Cup and the League trophy. The previous year’s champions Dundalk won the EA Sports Cup whilst Waterford gained promotion by securing the First Division title. But who were the winners when it came to attendances and what was the overall picture of crowds in the SSE Airtricity League?

 

In total 310 matches took place across the Premier and First Division in 2017. Of those 310 games, just 19 of our figures (6%) are estimated. As we failed to acquire any official figures from Derry City, their 17 home games have been estimated (see explanation later in the Derry City section). Only two other attendances are estimates. This means the 2017 figures will be the most accurate set of attendances extratime.ie has reported on in the decade that we have covered the league.

 

The reason for such a comprehensive set of figures is down to club officials across the league who have put up with my weekly emails and phone calls in order to secure these numbers and their help with this task is greatly appreciated. 

 

The 2017 League of Ireland attendance total comes in at 430,704. The average gate across the two divisions was 1,389. Breaking it down further, the average gate in the Premier Division was 1,906 with the average First Division game seeing 476 in attendance. The total gate breakdown across the two divisions was 377,362 in the Premier with 53,342 in the First.

 

The total gate is up 86,459 on 2016. Whilst the average First Division gate dropped by just one spectator from 477 to 476, the Premier Division gate average increased from 1,471 to 1,906. The totals do not always tell the full story so below is a comprehensive breakdown of the facts and figures surrounding the games and their attendances. 

 

Highlights and Lowlights – The Facts and Figures

The total League of Ireland audience for 2017 was 430,704 across 310 games (291 official attendance figures and 19 estimates) with an average gate of 1,389.

 

Overall Attendances

It was Cork City’s year on the pitch, and they also topped the pile off it. In terms of overall crowd numbers, Turner’s Cross saw 72,942 people come through the turnstiles. That represented 16.9% of the total League attendances.

 

Shamrock Rovers came second with 47,580 (11%) punters entering Tallaght Stadium. Dundalk took third spot with 45,988 (10.7%). Bohemians with 33,291 (7.7%) and Sligo Rovers 27,470 (6.4%) completed the top five.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, Athlone Town sat at the bottom of the attendance charts with 2,543 (0.6%) attending Athlone Town Stadium across the whole 2017 season. UCD completed the bottom two with 3,074 (0.7%) paying into the Belfield Bowl.

 

Average Attendances

As clubs played a different number of home games last year when there was 12 teams in the top flight, the average per game is a better measure but the top five and bottom two remain exactly the same. Cork City averaged a gate of 4,559 contrasting with Athlone Town’s average of 182. Eleven teams averaged a home gate of over 1,000 which is the same as 2016.

 

Premier Division sides Bray Wanderers (966) and Drogheda United (815) were the only teams in the division not to break the 1,000 average mark. Waterford, like Limerick the previous season, was the stand-out club in the First Division regards attendances. The Blues averaged 1,550 per home game.

 

Best attended matches

Cork City’s late September 1-1 draw against Dundalk was the league’s top attended fixture with 6,983. The corresponding early season game in March between the two sides came in second with 6,746. The third most watched game of the season was once again in Turner’s Cross when in October Cork City drew 0-0 with Derry City. 5,857 were in attendance to watch the scoreless stalemate.

 

When you inspect the top 20 best attended fixtures, 13 of the games were played in Cork, with the top six a clean sweep for the Rebel Army. Shamrock Rovers feature four times in the top 20, with Dundalk (2) and Bohemians (1) completing the list.

 

Worst attended matches

The lowest gate of the season is a draw between two fixtures. Athlone Town’s 1-0 loss to Cobh Ramblers and UCD’s 1-0 win over Cobh Ramblers, both in September, only just broke the century mark with 108 attending each of those games.  

 

On TV

When it comes to TV games, the average gate for a match shown on television across the season was 3,409. 

 

Total number of games played: 310

Total League of Ireland 2017 Attendance: 430,704 (up 86,459 on 2016)

Average gate for the 2017 season: 1,389

Average gate for Premier Division: 1,906 

Average gate for the First Division: 476 

Total number of attendees in the Premier Division: 377,362

Total number of attendees in the First Division: 53,342

Largest Attendance: 6,983 – Cork City 1-1 Dundalk

Lowest Attendance: 108 – UCD 1-0 Cobh Ramblers, Athlone Town 0-1 Cobh Ramblers

Average Attendance for games on TV: 3,409

 

Totals 2017 versus 2016

 

Total

2017 Average

2016 Average

Cork City

72,942

4,559

2,533

Shamrock Rovers

47,580

2,799

2,041

Dundalk

45,988

2,705

2,738

Bohemians

33,291

1,958

1,627

Sligo Rovers

27,470

1,717

1,752

Limerick

27,364

1,610

1,133

St. Patrick's Athletic

25,321

1,583

957

Waterford

21,699

1,550

277

Derry City

25,500

1,500

1,519

Galway United

23,110

1,359

1,169

Finn Harps

20,310

1,269

1,210

Bray Wanderers

15,450

966

933

Drogheda United

13,036

815

583

Shelbourne

6,994

500

583

Longford Town

4,787

342

488

Wexford

4,759

340

455

Cabinteely

4,746

339

352

Cobh Ramblers

4,740

339

403

UCD

3,074

220

317

Athlone Town

2,543

182

156

 

Percentage of Attendance per club

Team

2017 Percent

2016 Percent

Cork City

16.94

12.5

Shamrock Rovers

11.05

9.5

Dundalk

10.68

12.7

Bohemians

7.73

7.6

Sligo Rovers

6.38

8.7

Limerick

6.35

4.6

Derry City

5.92

7.1

St. Patrick's Athletic

5.88

5.4

Galway United

5.37

5.4

Waterford

5.04

1.3

Finn Harps

4.72

6

Bray Wanderers

3.59

4.7

Drogheda United

3.03

2.4

Shelbourne

1.62

2.2

Longford Town

1.11

2.3

Wexford

1.10

2.8

Cabinteely

1.10

1.4

Cobh Ramblers

1.10

1.6

UCD

0.71

1.2

Athlone Town

0.59

0.6

 

Top 20 Attended games

Date

Home

   

Away

Att

25/09

Cork City

1

1

Dundalk

6,983

25/03

Cork City

2

1

Dundalk

6,746

17/10

Cork City

0

0

Derry City

5,857

27/10

Cork City

1

0

Bray

5,768

28/04

Cork City

2

1

Bray

5,361

07/04

Cork City

3

0

Derry City

5,275

03/03

Shamrock

2

1

Bohemians

5,220

26/05

Cork City

4

1

Shamrock

5,135

24/02

Dundalk

2

1

Shamrock

4,746

16/06

Cork City

4

1

Limerick FC

4,725

28/07

Shamrock

1

2

Bohemians

4,534

02/06

Shamrock

1

1

St. Pats

3,925

19/05

Cork City

5

0

Drogheda Utd

3,844

05/05

Cork City

5

0

Finn Harps

3,837

28/07

Cork City

2

1

Galway Utd

3,744

02/06

Dundalk

0

3

Cork City

3,643

05/05

Shamrock

2

1

Dundalk

3,628

12/05

Bohemians

0

2

Shamrock

3,622

18/08

Cork City

0

1

Sligo Rovers

3,617

31/07

Cork City

0

1

Bohemians

3,590

 

League of Ireland on the TV

In 2017, nine different clubs featured across 18 league games shown on the TV. Cork City home games featured six times, Dundalk four times, Shamrock Rovers three times, St Patrick’s Athletic and Finn Harps twice with Drogheda United, Galway United, Bohemians and Limerick home games featuring once.

 

Games shown on TV tend to be the more popular or important fixtures and to that end you would expect that the games would get good crowds. But does TV cameras hurt the crowds? In 2016, we concluded they didn’t and from analysing 2017’s figures that would appear to be the case again.

 

Four of the nine clubs registered their season’s best crowds whilst the cameras broadcast live. The only noticeably poorer performing fixture is Finn Harps visit of Cork City. The first time Cork came to Donegal in 2017, the crowd registered 1,845. In front of the cameras, the attendance was 829. This fixture was more to do with the fact the game was on a Monday than due to the presence of the cameras.

 

The figures do suggest overall that television has a very minor if any impact on gates for the most part. The more interesting aspect of the TV coverage is perhaps around the monetary reward for clubs that feature on TV.

 

LOI GAMES ON TV

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

Channel

25/09

Cork City

1

1

Dundalk

6,983

RTE2

25/03

Cork City

2

1

Dundalk

6,746

RTE2

17/10

Cork City

0

0

Derry City

5,857

RTE2

07/04

Cork City

3

0

Derry City

5,275

RTE2

16/06

Cork City

4

1

Limerick

4,725

eir Sport

10/03

Drogheda

1

4

Cork City

1,050

eir Sport

24/02

Dundalk

2

1

Shamrock

4,746

eir Sport

02/06

Dundalk

0

3

Cork City

3,643

RTE2

18/08

Cork City 0 1 Sligo Rovers 3,617 RTE2

01/09

Shamrock  3 1 Cork City 3,452 RTE2

31/03

Dundalk

3

1

Drogheda

3,015

RTE2

23/06

Dundalk

4

0

Finn Harps

2,037

eir Sport

13/10

Bohemians 0 0 Cork City 2,568 RTE2

21/08

Finn Harps

0

1

Cork City

829

RTE2

27/10

Galway

3

4

Dundalk

2,214

RTE2

22/09

Limerick

2

1

Cork City

1,970

RTE2

03/03

Shamrock

2

1

Bohemians

5,220

RTE2

28/07

Shamrock

1

2

Bohemians

4,534

eir Sport

04/08

Shamrock

0

2

Derry City

2,872

eir Sport

20/10

St. Pats

4

2

Cork City

1,618

eir Sport

21/07

St. Pats

3

1

Bray

1,408

eir Sport

07/10

Finn Harps 0 2 Dundalk 626 RTE2

 

Gameweek by Gameweek

For the purpose of this article we have created gameweeks based on date ranges that try to cover a series of matches. The date ranges are included in the graphic.

 

Over the last few seasons the league’s opening gameweek was usually the strongest performing, possibly due to the enthusiasm and optimism of fans across all the clubs have generated over close season. 2017 bucks the trend.

 

After the opening gameweek (average crowds of 1,704), the crowd average drops fractionally but mostly lingered between 1,200 and 1,700 until Gameweek 19. As the league entered the summer months, the averages dropped.

 

In July, the gameweek averaged dropped below 1,000 for the first time in the season. The obvious reason for this drop is the start of European competitions resulting in the more successful clubs in the league not having domestic fixtures.   

 

The crowd averages mostly rally after that, with the exception of Gameweek 28 where the average dropped to the lowest in the season (708). Again the reason for this is once again the absence of some heavy hitting (attendance wise) Premier Division clubs.

 

At this point 2017 differs from many of the previous seasons. Gameweek 29 drew an average crowd of 1,970, the best of the season. Then two of the last two Gameweeks registered 2,367 and 2,432 as their average crowds. As a result, Gameweek 31 (the first week after the First Division ended) was the best performing gameweek of the season.

 

Gameweek by Gameweek

W

Date Range

G

Total

Av

Premier Av

First Av

1

24 - 25 Feb

10

17,040

1,704

2,492

522

2

3 - 4 Mar

9

15,172

1,686

2,566

586

3

10 - 11 Mar

10

12,603

1,260

1,867

351

4

13 Mar

6

8,562

1,427

1,427

0

5

17 - 18 Mar

10

12,227

1,223

1,822

324

6

25 Mar

9

14,849

1,650

2,667

597

7

31 - 3 Apr

10

14,863

1,486

2,250

341

8

7 - 8 Apr

10

13,455

1,346

1,820

634

9

14 - 15 Apr

10

15,017

1,502

2,005

747

10

21 - 25 Apr

11

14,214

1,292

1,829

352

11

28 - 29 Apr

10

15,469

1,547

2,162

624

12

5 - 8 May

11

15,171

1,379

2,067

493

13

12 - 13 May

10

12,032

1,203

1,769

355

14

19 - 20 May

10

12,449

1,245

1,741

501

15

22 - 23 May

6

8,553

1,426

1,426

0

16

26 - 27 May

10

12,072

1,207

1,766

369

17

30 - 2 Jun

11

16,783

1,526

2,305

269

18

16 - 17 Jun

10

14,303

1,430

2,042

513

19

23 - 26 Jun

11

13,054

1,187

1,722

251

20

30 - 5 July

9

9,470

1,052

1,572

403

21

7 - 9 July

8

7,990

999

1,485

513

22

14 - 16 July

8

7,262

908

1,476

340

23

21 - 24 July

10

13,914

1,391

1,852

700

24

28 - 31 July

11

19,128

1,739

2,376

623

25

4 - 5 Aug

10

11,398

1,140

1,701

298

26

15 - 21 Aug

13

15,340

1,180

1,456

559

27

1 Sep

8

10,389

1,299

2,159

438

28

15 - 16 Sep

8

5,662

708

978

437

29

22 - 29 Sep

13

25,607

1,970

2,492

796

30

7 Oct

9

6,980

776

1,073

404

31

13 - 17 Oct

7

17,023

2,432

2,432

0

32

20 - 23 Oct

6

8,454

1,409

1,409

0

33

27 Oct

6

14,199

2,367

2,367

0

 

Club by Club

ATHLONE TOWN

In 2016, I wrote it was a season to forget for Athlone Town fans. 2017 managed to top that as well documented events off the pitch took the limelight instead of any football on it. A total of 2,543 people visited Athlone Town Stadium over the course of the league season, an average crowd of 182 per game. The Midlands El Classico in March registered 380 spectators and was the home side’s best attended league game. Co-incidentally Athlone Town’s total league attendance is the exact same as the attendance of Bohemians home fixture against St Patrick’s Athletic in September.

 

ATHLONE TOWN

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

24/02

Athlone Town

1

0

Waterford FC

326

10/03

Athlone Town

0

3

Longford Town

380

25/03

Athlone Town

1

4

Shelbourne

228

31/03

Athlone Town

3

3

Cabinteely FC

142

21/04

Athlone Town

1

0

Wexford

146

05/05

Athlone Town

2

1

Cobh Ramblers

137

26/05

Athlone Town

0

2

UCD

141

02/06

Athlone Town

1

6

Waterford FC

171

23/06

Athlone Town

2

2

Longford Town

211

07/07

Athlone Town

1

3

Shelbourne

144

14/07

Athlone Town

1

1

Cabinteely FC

124

04/08

Athlone Town

1

1

Wexford

136

01/09

Athlone Town

0

1

Cobh Ramblers

108

07/10 

Athlone Town

0

4

UCD

149

       

TOTAL

2,543

       

Average

182

 

BOHEMIANS

The Gypsies had quite an impressive season in 2017 with the club securing a fifth placed league finish. At no point did the Dalymount Park crowd drop below the 1,000 mark and, compared to 2016, the club increased their average attendance by 331. Unsurprisingly their best performing fixture was the Dublin derby clash against Shamrock Rovers in April. 3,622 fans packed in to watch the visitors record a 2-0 win. Such is the draw of that particular clash, Bohemians second best home attendance was over 1,000 less.

 

 

BOHEMIANS

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

24/02

Bohemians

1

4

Derry City

2,170

10/03

Bohemians

3

2

Bray Wdrs

1,505

17/03

Bohemians

1

1

Galway Utd

1,137

31/03

Bohemians

0

4

St. Pats

2,600

14/04

Bohemians

0

2

Cork City

2,214

28/04

Bohemians

2

0

Finn Harps

1,423

12/05

Bohemians

0

2

Shamrock Rovers

3,622

23/05

Bohemians

1

2

Limerick FC

1,305

02/06

Bohemians

0

0

Drogheda United

1,559

23/06

Bohemians

2

0

Sligo Rovers

1,606

05/07

Bohemians

0

1

Dundalk

2,404

21/07

Bohemians

0

1

Derry City

1,461

04/08

Bohemians

0

0

Bray Wdrs

1,718

01/09

Bohemians

1

1

Galway Utd

1,586

22/09

Bohemians

3

2

St. Pats

2,543

13/10

Bohemians

0

0

Cork City

2,568

27/10 

Bohemians

3

1

Finn Harps

1,870

       

TOTAL

33,291

       

Average

1,958

 

 

BRAY WANDERERS

Bray Wanderers finished sixth in the league in 2017 recording an average attendance of 966. That is an increase of nine over the 2016 season. It is interesting to note that after the club statement saying attendances where not what they hoped, the actual attendances seem to have suffered further and they recorded some of their lowest crowd figures afterwards. The club may have gained huge publicity from their less-than-standard press releases but in this case not all publicity is good publicity.

 

 

BRAY WANDERERS

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

03/03

Bray Wdrs

5

3

Finn Harps

1,117

13/03

Bray Wdrs

2

1

Drogheda Utd

638

25/03

Bray Wdrs

0

1

Limerick FC

649

07/04

Bray Wdrs

1

0

Galway Utd

477

21/04

Bray Wdrs

4

2

Shamrock Rvrs

2,225

05/05

Bray Wdrs

1

1

St. Pats

1,287

19/05

Bray Wdrs

1

2

Bohemians

1,193

26/05

Bray Wdrs

2

2

Sligo Rovers

772

16/06

Bray Wdrs

3

2

Derry City

799

30/06

Bray Wdrs

0

3

Dundalk

1,538

16/07

Bray Wdrs

0

2

Cork City

1,879

28/07

Bray Wdrs

2

3

Finn Harps

563

18/08

Bray Wdrs

2

1

Drogheda Utd

558

15/09

Bray Wdrs

1

1

Limerick FC

481

07/10

Bray Wdrs

3

3

Galway Utd

552

20/10

Bray Wdrs

1

0

Shamrock Rvrs

722

       

TOTAL

15,450

       

Average

966

 

CABINTEELY

Cabinteely more than doubled their points tally in 2017 compared to the previous season and instead of a goal difference of minus 35 they ended the season with a positive goal difference of four. They also finished one place higher in the league table. Attendance wise they were similar to the previous campaign. Once again the opening day fixture was their best (662 against UCD). Had that attendance matched 2016’s opening day count of 902, the overall number of people visiting Stradbrook and the average crowd would almost match last years numbers. 4,746 people went to see Cabo at home, an average crowd of 339.

 

BRAY WANDERERS

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

24/02

Cabinteely FC

0

1

UCD

662

10/03

Cabinteely FC

2

0

Wexford

346

25/03

Cabinteely FC

4

1

Cobh Ramblers

378

07/04

Cabinteely FC

0

1

Shelbourne

502

21/04

Cabinteely FC

0

0

Waterford FC

569

06/05

Cabinteely FC

0

0

Longford Town

237

20/05

Cabinteely FC

2

0

Athlone Town

212

01/06

Cabinteely FC

3

3

UCD

188

23/06

Cabinteely FC

0

1

Wexford

137

07/07

Cabinteely FC

2

1

Cobh Ramblers

208

21/07

Cabinteely FC

1

0

Shelbourne

502

04/08

Cabinteely FC

1

1

Waterford FC

404

01/09

Cabinteely FC

0

2

Longford Town

189

22/09

Cabinteely FC

6

2

Athlone Town

212

       

TOTAL

4,746

       

Average

339

 

COBH RAMBLERS

On the pitch Cobh Ramblers finished in second place in the SSE Airtricity First Division which was one position better than in 2016. Their attendance totals were down on 2016. 4,740 people came to St Coleman’s Park in 2017 compared to 5,645 so the average gate dropped from 403 to 339. The two visits of Waterford ranked as their best attended fixtures. The April visit of Longford Town was their lowest with 189 in attendance.

 

 

COBH RAMBLERS

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

25/02

Cobh Ramblers

1

1

Wexford

320

11/03

Cobh Ramblers

1

1

Shelbourne

417

18/03

Cobh Ramblers

5

1

Athlone Town

312

01/04

Cobh Ramblers

1

0

UCD

354

22/04

Cobh Ramblers

2

0

Longford Town

189

12/05

Cobh Ramblers

2

0

Cabinteely

250

27/05

Cobh Ramblers

0

0

Waterford

650

02/06

Cobh Ramblers

1

0

Wexford

342

24/06

Cobh Ramblers

0

1

Shelbourne

285

01/07

Cobh Ramblers

3

1

Athlone Town

406

15/07

Cobh Ramblers

1

0

UCD

330

05/08

Cobh Ramblers

2

0

Longford Town

240

16/09

Cobh Ramblers

0

3

Cabinteely

200

07/10

Cobh Ramblers

2

1

Waterford

445

       

TOTAL

4,740

       

Average

339

 

CORK CITY

The Rebel Army marched to success both on and off the pitch in 2017. Turner’s Cross’s stands recorded the largest single match day attendance (6,983 against Dundalk), the largest number of people coming through its turnstiles (72,942 for the season) and the best average attendance (4,559) across the season with plenty to spare. In 2016, Cork’s crowds ranked second just behind Dundalk. In 2017, they increased their crowds by 29,878. They occupied seven places in the top ten best attendances of the season. Cork City’s crowds made up 16.9% of the entire League of Ireland audience.

 

CORK CITY

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

03/03

Cork City

4

0

Galway Utd

3,335

13/03

Cork City

2

1

Sligo Rovers

2,722

25/03

Cork City

2

1

Dundalk

6,746

07/04

Cork City

3

0

Derry City

5,275

28/04

Cork City

2

1

Bray Wndrs

5,361

05/05

Cork City

5

0

Finn Harps

3,837

19/05

Cork City

5

0

Drogheda Utd

3,844

26/05

Cork City

4

1

Shamrock Rvrs

5,135

16/06

Cork City

4

1

Limerick

4,725

09/07

Cork City

1

0

St. Pats

2,403

28/07

Cork City

2

1

Galway Utd

3,744

31/07

Cork City

0

1

Bohemians

3,590

18/08

Cork City

0

1

Sligo Rovers

3,617

25/09

Cork City

1

1

Dundalk

6,983

17/10

Cork City

0

0

Derry City

5,857

27/10

Cork City

1

0

Bray Wndrs

5,768

       

TOTAL

72,942

       

Average

4,559

 

 

 

DERRY CITY

It’s been a very tough season for the Candystripes with the tragic loss of their captain Ryan McBride early in the season so it is a testament to the players and staff of the club to end the season in fourth position. It was a season spent away from the Brandywell as they made Maginn Park their home whilst their regular venue underwent a facelift. On an attendance front, 17 of our 19 estimates are from Derry City. From talking to various sources, Derry’s crowds began the season strongly but as the season matured, the crowds dropped to sometimes below 1,000. To that end we have set the entire season at an average of 1,500. This is our only assumption when it comes to the 2017 season. Should Derry City or the FAI provide official attendance figures we will update the entire article accordingly.  

 

DROGHEDA UNITED

Drogheda United finished the season at the foot of the Premier Division table and will play First Division football next season. 13,036 people came to United Park in 2017, an increase on 2016’s 8,163. The average crowd went from 583 to 815. This is hardly any surprise considering the club were promoted in the 2016 season. The 6-0 loss to Dundalk was the club’s best attended fixture with 1,691 in the stands. The October visit of Shamrock Rovers was their worst with 408 in attendance.

 

DROGHEDA UNITED

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

03/03

Drogheda Utd

2

0

St. Pats

1,020

10/03

Drogheda Utd

1

4

Cork City

1,050

25/03

Drogheda Utd

0

1

Bohemians

772

07/04

Drogheda Utd

2

1

Shamrock Rvrs

1,070

28/04

Drogheda Utd

1

1

Sligo Rovers

803

05/05

Drogheda Utd

2

2

Galway Utd

796

23/05

Drogheda Utd

0

0

Bray Wndrs

479

26/05

Drogheda Utd

0

0

Derry City

605

16/06

Drogheda Utd

0

6

Dundalk

1,691

30/06

Drogheda Utd

0

2

Limerick

600

07/07

Drogheda Utd

0

2

Finn Harps

564

28/07

Drogheda Utd

0

1

St. Pats

984

04/08

Drogheda Utd

0

1

Cork City

533

15/09

Drogheda Utd

1

4

Bohemians

814

07/10

Drogheda Utd

0

2

Shamrock Rvrs

408

27/10

Drogheda Utd

0

0

Sligo Rovers

847

       

TOTAL

13,036

       

Average

815

 

DUNDALK

Dundalk dropped from best in show for attendances in 2016 to third place in 2017. Nothing much changed regarding the number of people coming to watch the club between seasons (45,988 in 2017 with average crowd of 2,705, compared with 43,814 in 2016 for an average crowd of 2,738) but rather Cork City and Shamrock Rovers improved theirs. The Louth side still registered 10.7% of the league’s overall attendance. Their opening day fixture against Shamrock Rovers was their best attended (4,746). The mid-October clash with Bray Wanderers was their worst (1,776).    

 

DUNDALK

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

24/02

Dundalk

2

1

Shamrock Rvrs

4,746

10/03

Dundalk

1

0

Limerick

3,286

18/03

Dundalk

3

0

St. Pats

2,675

31/03

Dundalk

3

1

Drogheda Utd

3,015

14/04

Dundalk

1

3

Bray Wndrs

3,031

21/04

Dundalk

2

0

Bohemians

2,848

12/05

Dundalk

4

0

Sligo Rovers

2,580

23/05

Dundalk

0

0

Derry City

2,369

02/06

Dundalk

0

3

Cork City

3,643

23/06

Dundalk

4

0

Finn Harps

2,037

26/06

Dundalk

2

0

Galway Utd

2,370

23/07

Dundalk

0

1

Shamrock Rvrs

3,000

04/08

Dundalk

3

0

Limerick

2,083

01/09

Dundalk

6

0

St. Pats

2,388

22/09

Dundalk

3

0

Drogheda Utd

2,094

13/10

Dundalk

1

0

Bray Wndrs

1,776

20/10

Dundalk

0

1

Bohemians

2,047

       

TOTAL

45,988

       

Average

2,705

 

FINN HARPS

Finn Harps dropped from the Premier Division in 2017 but did so whilst slightly improving their average compared to 2016. 20,310 people visited Finn Park in 2017 with an average attendances of 1,269 compared to 1,210 in 2016. The local derby against Derry City was their best showing with 2,890 in attendance. The late October clash with Drogheda United proved to be their worst attendance with 382 souls turning up to watch as Drogs defeated Harps 3-2.

 

FINN HARPS

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

24/02

Finn Harps

0

1

Cork City

1,845

10/03

Finn Harps

1

1

Galway Utd

1,022

25/03

Finn Harps

2

1

Sligo Rovers

1,751

07/04

Finn Harps

0

2

Dundalk

1,211

21/04

Finn Harps

0

2

Drogheda Utd

905

12/05

Finn Harps

0

3

Bray Wndrs

702

22/05

Finn Harps

3

1

St. Pats

1,583

26/05

Finn Harps

3

2

Limerick

1,288

16/06

Finn Harps

0

1

Shamrock Rvrs

1,281

14/07

Finn Harps

2

1

Bohemians

1,038

24/07

Finn Harps

0

2

Derry City

2,890

04/08

Finn Harps

1

3

Galway Utd

1,214

21/08

Finn Harps

0

1

Cork City

829

16/09

Finn Harps

1

2

Sligo Rovers

1,743

07/10

Finn Harps

0

2

Dundalk

626

23/10

Finn Harps

2

3

Drogheda Utd

382

       

TOTAL

20,310

       

Average

1,269

 

 

GALWAY UNITED

The final team in our list to be relegated in 2017 is Galway United. They did so whilst, at the same time, improving their gate. In 2016, 18,697 people attended Eamon Deacy Park with an average of 1,169 per game. In 2017, that increased to 23,110 with an average of 1,359. The final game of the season was their best attended as 2,214 saw them lose 4-3 to Dundalk in front of the RTE cameras. The two home games against Derry City rank as their poorest gates, with 723 and 875 turning up for those clashes. Only on one other occasion did their attendance drop below 1,000 and that was the visit of Sligo Rovers which took place on a Monday.  

 

GALWAY UNITED

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

24/02

Galway Utd

0

1

Drogheda Utd

2,113

13/03

Galway Utd

1

2

Shamrock Rvrs

1,051

03/04

Galway Utd

1

1

Sligo Rovers

891

14/04

Galway Utd

1

1

St. Pats

1,119

28/04

Galway Utd

2

1

Dundalk

1,317

08/05

Galway Utd

0

0

Derry City

723

12/05

Galway Utd

1

1

Cork City

1,231

19/05

Galway Utd

2

1

Finn Harps

1,009

26/05

Galway Utd

1

2

Bohemians

1,361

23/06

Galway Utd

1

2

Bray Wndrs

1,022

07/07

Galway Utd

3

1

Limerick

1,471

21/07

Galway Utd

4

1

Drogheda Utd

1,028

18/08

Galway Utd

1

2

Shamrock Rvrs

1,404

15/09

Galway Utd

2

1

Derry City

875

22/09

Galway Utd

3

1

Sligo Rovers

2,117

13/10

Galway Utd

1

1

St. Pats

2,164

27/10

Galway Utd

3

4

Dundalk

2,214

       

TOTAL

23,110

       

Average

1,359

 

LIMERICK

Limerick singlehandedly drove the First Division average attendance up considerably with their home support and, as they moved into the Premier Division, they have built on that. 15,857 (average of 1,133) showed up last season and in 2017 that increased to 27,364 (average of 1,610). The new boys to the top flight registered the 6th best attendance averages of the season. The 3-0 loss to Cork City in March was their best attendance (2,985) whilst their worst, the only time they dropped below 1,000, was the visit of Bohemians (994).

 

LIMERICK

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

24/02

Limerick

5

1

Sligo Rovers

2,357

13/03

Limerick

0

1

Bohemians

1,756

18/03

Limerick

1

1

Finn Harps

1,186

31/03

Limerick

0

3

Cork City

2,985

15/04

Limerick

3

0

Drogheda Utd

1,526

21/04

Limerick

1

1

Galway Utd

1,714

13/05

Limerick

1

1

Derry City

1,287

19/05

Limerick

0

3

Dundalk

1,669

02/06

Limerick

5

3

Bray Wndrs

1,447

24/06

Limerick

2

2

St. Pats

1,470

22/07

Limerick

0

0

Sligo Rovers

1,327

15/08

Limerick

0

2

Shamrock Rvrs

1,234

19/08

Limerick

1

0

Bohemians

994

01/09

Limerick

0

2

Finn Harps

1,211

22/09

Limerick

2

1

Cork City

1,970

14/10

Limerick

1

0

Drogheda Utd

1,622

20/10

Limerick

2

2

Galway Utd

1,609

       

TOTAL

27,364

       

Average

1,610

 

LONGFORD TOWN

After relegation to the First Division last season, the midland sides crowds had the expected knock-on effect of slipping down. In 2016, 7,814 people turned up to City Calling Stadium (average of 488). The first season back in the First saw 4,787 attend (average of 342). The derby clash with Athlone Town in August was their best attendance (480) with the 5-0 win over Wexford registering their lowest (211).

 

LONGFORD TOWN

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

04/03

Longford Town

1

3

Cobh Ramblers

320

18/03

Longford Town

0

2

Cabinteely

321

01/04

Longford Town

0

0

Waterford

401

15/04

Longford Town

3

1

Shelbourne

430

29/04

Longford Town

3

1

Athlone Town

407

13/05

Longford Town

0

1

UCD

235

27/05

Longford Town

5

0

Wexford

211

17/06

Longford Town

2

1

Cobh Ramblers

229

01/07

Longford Town

1

0

Cabinteely

327

15/07

Longford Town

0

1

Waterford

426

29/07

Longford Town

1

3

Shelbourne

425

19/08

Longford Town

7

1

Athlone Town

480

16/09

Longford Town

1

1

UCD

228

07/10

Longford Town

1

0

Wexford

347

       

TOTAL

4,787

       

Average

342

 

SHAMROCK ROVERS

Last year I wrote that Shamrock Rovers had the third best average but that they would feel they can do better and improve on their numbers. In that season 32,662 turned up at Tallaght averaging 2,041 per game. In 2017, they moved to the rank of second best attendance in the league as 47,580 people made the trip to the Hoops home ground averaging at 2,799 per game. Their two best attended games where the televised visits of local rivals Bohemians (5,220 and 4,534) whilst the Monday clash with Galway United in May was their lowest (1,234).

 

SHAMROCK ROVERS

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

03/03

Shamrock Rvrs

2

1

Bohemians

5,220

10/03

Shamrock Rvrs

0

1

Derry City

3,251

17/03

Shamrock Rvrs

1

2

Cork City

3,045

31/03

Shamrock Rvrs

3

2

Finn Harps

2,510

14/04

Shamrock Rvrs

1

0

Sligo Rovers

2,641

28/04

Shamrock Rvrs

1

1

Limerick

2,570

05/05

Shamrock Rvrs

2

1

Dundalk

3,628

22/05

Shamrock Rvrs

2

0

Galway Utd

1,234

30/05

Shamrock Rvrs

2

0

Bray Wndrs

1,758

02/06

Shamrock Rvrs

1

1

St. Pats

3,925

23/06

Shamrock Rvrs

4

1

Drogheda Utd

2,047

28/07

Shamrock Rvrs

1

2

Bohemians

4,534

04/08

Shamrock Rvrs

0

2

Derry City

2,872

01/09

Shamrock Rvrs

3

1

Cork City

3,452

22/09

Shamrock Rvrs

4

1

Finn Harps

1,357

13/10

Shamrock Rvrs

1

1

Sligo Rovers

1,536

27/10

Shamrock Rvrs

2

1

Limerick

2,000

       

TOTAL

47,580

       

Average

2,799

 

SHELBOURNE

Shelbourne had a close enough season, attendance wise, to 2016. The Reds had 6,994 people turn the stiles in Tolka Park over 2017 with an average of 500. That was slight down on 2016 as 7,732 turned up for that campaign averaging 552. Their early season clash with Longford Town was their best attended game (779) whilst conversely the summer visit of the same club drew their smallest showing (374).

 

SHELBOURNE

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

24/02

Shelbourne

0

0

Longford Town

779

17/03

Shelbourne

2

2

Waterford

422

31/03

Shelbourne

2

0

Wexford

465

21/04

Shelbourne

0

1

UCD

505

28/04

Shelbourne

0

1

Cobh Ramblers

474

12/05

Shelbourne

2

1

Athlone Town

417

26/05

Shelbourne

1

4

Cabinteely

473

02/06

Shelbourne

0

0

Longford Town

374

30/06

Shelbourne

1

1

Waterford

589

14/07

Shelbourne

1

2

Wexford

480

04/08

Shelbourne

1

1

UCD

410

18/08

Shelbourne

0

1

Cobh Ramblers

483

15/09

Shelbourne

4

1

Athlone Town

450

07/10

Shelbourne

3

1

Cabinteely

673

       

TOTAL

6,994

       

Average

500

 

SLIGO ROVERS

The Showgrounds welcomed 27,470 people in 2017 with an average gate of 1,717. That was almost matching 2016 as 29,779 turned up with an average match attendance of 1,752. The biggest difference was their final league position as they dropped from finishing fifth to ninth. Their best and worst attendance came a week apart. In March, the visit of Dundalk saw 2,138 in attendance, whilst a week later, St Patrick’s Athletic played out a 1-1 draw in front of 1,087 spectators.

 

SLIGO ROVERS

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

04/03

Sligo Rovers

0

4

Dundalk

2,138

10/03

Sligo Rovers

1

1

St. Pats

1,087

18/03

Sligo Rovers

3

2

Bray Wndrs

1,387

08/04

Sligo Rovers

2

0

Bohemians

1,586

22/04

Sligo Rovers

1

1

Derry City

1,827

06/05

Sligo Rovers

3

0

Limerick

1,427

22/05

Sligo Rovers

1

2

Cork City

1,583

02/06

Sligo Rovers

0

0

Finn Harps

1,876

17/06

Sligo Rovers

1

1

Galway Utd

1,679

02/07

Sligo Rovers

1

0

Shamrock Rvrs

2,065

15/07

Sligo Rovers

1

1

Drogheda Utd

1,617

29/07

Sligo Rovers

1

1

Dundalk

1,720

05/08

Sligo Rovers

1

1

St. Pats

1,788

15/08

Sligo Rovers

0

0

Bray Wndrs

1,546

07/10

Sligo Rovers

1

0

Bohemians

2,068

21/10

Sligo Rovers

3

0

Derry City

2,076

       

TOTAL

27,470

       

Average

1,717

 

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC

2017 saw a much better showing in the stands from the St. Patrick’s Athletic supporters. 2016 saw 18,652 turn up with an average of 1,097. The Saints improved solidly on that with more consistent weekly showings resulting in 25,321 watching Pats in Inchicore with an average crowd of 1,583. Their best attendance was the derby clash with Shamrock Rovers in March (2,543) whilst the visit of Finn Harps in the same month was the only time the Pats attendance dropped below 1,000 (895).

 

ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

24/02

St. Pats

1

2

Bray Wndrs

1,722

13/03

St. Pats

1

2

Finn Harps

895

25/03

St. Pats

2

1

Shamrock Rvrs

2,543

07/04

St. Pats

0

2

Limerick

1,302

21/04

St. Pats

0

3

Cork City

1,786

12/05

St. Pats

2

0

Drogheda Utd

1,191

19/05

St. Pats

1

1

Sligo Rovers

1,229

26/05

St. Pats

0

2

Dundalk

1,436

16/06

St. Pats

1

3

Bohemians

2,077

30/06

St. Pats

1

1

Galway Utd

1,252

14/07

St. Pats

2

1

Derry City

1,368

21/07

St. Pats

3

1

Bray Wndrs

1,408

18/08

St. Pats

4

0

Finn Harps

1,421

25/09

St. Pats

2

0

Shamrock Rvrs

2,361

07/10

St. Pats

2

2

Limerick

1,712

20/10

St. Pats

4

2

Cork City

1,618

       

TOTAL

25,321

       

Average

1,583

 

UCD

Last year most of our figures for UCD were estimates, but thanks to great help from UCD officials, 2017 has no estimates. 3,074 visited the college grounds last season with an average of 220 attending per game. The best showing was in March as 382 people turned up for the visit of Shelbourne. The September game against Cobh Ramblers drew their lowest crowd (108).

 

UCD

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

03/03

UCD

4

0

Shelbourne

382

10/03

UCD

0

2

Waterford

259

25/03

UCD

2

0

Longford Town

135

08/04

UCD

4

1

Athlone Town

145

14/04

UCD

2

2

Cabinteely

238

05/05

UCD

2

0

Wexford

172

19/05

UCD

0

1

Cobh Ramblers

153

16/06

UCD

1

2

Shelbourne

316

23/06

UCD

3

2

Waterford

369

07/07

UCD

0

0

Longford Town

192

21/07

UCD

4

0

Athlone Town

164

28/07

UCD

2

3

Cabinteely

270

01/09

UCD

1

0

Wexford

171

22/09

UCD

1

0

Cobh Ramblers

108

       

TOTAL

3,074

       

Average

220

 

WATERFORD

In 2016 Waterford were in a bad place with average crowds of 277 with their worst crowd of that season seeing 167 people turn up to watch a game against Athlone Town. 4,443 visited the RSC across that league campaign. Fast forward a year and the club have been promoted to the top flight whilst 21,699 spectators watched on from the RSC stands. That is an average crowd of 1,550. A dramatic turn of fortune for the Blues. Their best attendance was the September game against Longford Town (2,547) whilst the UCD visit drew 1,068 fans. The club’s worst crowd in 2017 was 348 more than their best in 2016. An incredible transformation and once more in the First Division one club forced up the averages for the tier dramatically.

 

WATERFORD

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

03/03

Waterford

3

0

Cabinteely

1,317

25/03

Waterford

2

0

Wexford

1,647

07/04

Waterford

2

1

Cobh Ramblers

1,675

14/04

Waterford

2

1

Athlone Town

1,932

28/04

Waterford

1

1

UCD

1,386

05/05

Waterford

1

0

Shelbourne

1,427

19/05

Waterford

1

0

Longford Town

1,294

16/06

Waterford

3

0

Cabinteely

1,245

07/07

Waterford

2

1

Wexford

1,508

21/07

Waterford

4

0

Cobh Ramblers

1,852

28/07

Waterford

3

1

Athlone Town

1,517

18/08

Waterford

1

0

UCD

1,068

01/09

Waterford

1

1

Shelbourne

1,284

22/09

Waterford

1

0

Longford Town

2,547

       

TOTAL

21,699

       

Average

1,550

 

WEXFORD

Not surprisingly there was a drop in support for Wexford in 2017. In 2016 they welcomed 9,667 people as they played out a season in the Premier Division. That season resulted in relegation so their 2017 season was spent in the First Division and saw their crowd total drop to 4,759 with an average crowd of 340. The local clash with Waterford in September drew the most fans (871) whilst the visit of Cabinteely in August was their lowest (206).

 

WEXFORD

Date

Home

H

A

Away

Att

03/03

Wexford

1

2

Athlone Town

323

17/03

Wexford

1

1

UCD

242

07/04

Wexford

0

0

Longford Town

212

14/04

Wexford

1

2

Cobh Ramblers

386

28/04

Wexford

1

1

Cabinteely

228

12/05

Wexford

0

1

Waterford

517

19/05

Wexford

1

0

Shelbourne

346

16/06

Wexford

2

2

Athlone Town

261

30/06

Wexford

0

0

UCD

289

21/07

Wexford

1

2

Longford Town

282

28/07

Wexford

0

2

Cobh Ramblers

281

18/08

Wexford

2

0

Cabinteely

206

15/09

Wexford

0

3

Waterford

871

22/09

Wexford

0

3

Shelbourne

315

       

TOTAL

4,759

       

Average

340

 

In Summary

If you have made it this far, congratulations. If you have any comments or issues with facts and figures, you can reach me on @garethpenrose. If you spot any errors please let me know as compiling wasn’t easy with the mountain of constantly arriving figures. I'd like to thank again all the clubs and volunteers that continue to provide figures.

 

Please note that if you do use these figures found here further afield in print, on radio or on television, we appreciate if you would also give Extratime.ie credit as it has taken a lot of effort to source and compile this information.