In August 2016, Waterford United beat Athlone Town 3-1 and if you were to go looking for someone to tell you about the game, you could pick from one of the 167 people who were in attendance. Fast forward eight months, and the club have been resurrected into Waterford FC and, against the same opponents, have drawn a crowd of 1,932. The attendance figure is their best of the season. The Blues fans and players will be tucking into their Easter eggs happy in the knowledge they are also top of the First Division table.
Their neighbours Wexford FC have also undergone a name change and also posted a season best attendance in Gameweek 9 but the similarities end there. The 386 spectators who watched Cobh Ramblers beat Wexford is the highest crowd Ferrycarrig Park has seen in 2017 and they sit at the foot of the First Division table.
The crowd figures for the other two games in the First Division are estimates. We have estimated Longford Town’s 3-1 win over Shelbourne drew 330. Having gone for 17 and a half months without a league win in City Calling Stadium, it will be a welcome victory for the home support. UCD’s 2-2 draw against local rivals Cabinteely drew an estimated 250.
In the Premier Division, Dundalk’s 3-1 loss to Bray Wanderers drew the biggest crowds of Gameweek 9. 3,031 were in Oriel Park as Stephen Kenny’s charges recorded a third defeat of the season. The battle of the Rovers came in second as Shamrock Rovers defeated Sligo Rovers by a single goal to nil in front of a Tallaght crowd of 2,641.
Cork City’s two nil win over Bohemians in Dalymount Park was watched by 2,214, the second best crowd for the Gypsies this season.
1,526 spectators visited Market’s Field for Limerick’s 3-0 win over Drogheda United on Saturday night whilst Galway United’s 1-1 draw with St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday was watched by 1,119.
As with all Derry City attendance figures, we have had to estimate it.
So where does Gameweek 9 register compared to the rest of the 2017 season? It drew the 4th largest crowd (14,929) and recorded the 5th best average (1,469).
Last year, Easter fell in Gameweek 5, and games were moved to Saturday due to the Good Friday International clash of Ireland and Switzerland. The attendance figures that Gameweek made for unpleasant reading. Over nine games, 6,836 attended matches, with an average crowd of 760. The impact of the move to Saturday last year is clear to see in the numbers.
The total League of Ireland 2017 attendance to date is 123,359 across 84 games; an average gate of 1,469. In 2016, at the same Gameweek, the total was 109,542 across 82 games; an average of 1,336. The Premier Division crowds for each club appear to be improving compared to last year but the First Division attendances, with the exception of Waterford, are still struggling.
Gameweek by Gameweek - The Totals and Averages
|Gameweek||No of Teams||Total||Average|
Gameweek 9 Totals (estimates in red)
|Home Team||H||A||Away Team||Att|
|Shamrock Rvrs||1||0||Sligo Rovers||2,641|
|Waterford FC||2||1||Athlone Town||1,932|
|Limerick FC||3||0||Drogheda Utd||1,526|
|Derry City||0||2||Finn Harps||1,500|
|Galway Utd||1||1||St. Patrick's Ath||1,119|
|Wexford FC||1||2||Cobh Ramblers||386|