The SSE League of Ireland Premier Division began on Friday night with Dundalk looking to defend their title. The Lilywhites started their campaign with a home draw against Sligo Rovers while Cork City lost their opener away to St Patrick’s Athletic by a single goal to nil (see here).
Shamrock Rovers came from behind in dramatic fashion to beat Waterford in the RSC 2-1 while Derry City launched their campaign with a 3-0 win over newly promoted UCD. Bohemians also faced a newly promoted side in Finn Harps and came away with three points thanks to single Dinny Corcoran goal.
Those five games were watched by a total of 17,792 people. That is an average of 3,558 per game. The figures comprise four official attendances and one estimate for the Derry City game (who do not publically publish attendances).
The largest crowd of the evening was in the RSC as Waterford welcomed 4,152 fans. That crowd represents the largest attendance the south-east club has gotten over the last three seasons (beating the previous highest of 3,684 against Cork City from last season). Their two games against Shamrock Rovers in the RSC in 2018 drew 3,010 and 2,378 so this opening day tally is well up on those occasions.
St. Patrick’s Athletic welcomed 3,479 into Richmond Park. That attendance beats their best from 2018 by 561. The Saints also played their first home game of the 2018 campaign against Cork City which saw 2,771 turn up. 2019 has seen an increase of 708 on last year.
Dundalk once more start a league campaign with a home draw. Last season they drew 0-0 against Bray Wanderers in front of 2,491. This season, the draw was against Sligo Rovers but the crowd swelled to 3,347.
Bohemians got off to a winning start on Friday night with a 1-0 win over Finn Harps that was watched by 2,914. That attendance would rank third highest when compared to 2018. Only games Dublin derby games against Shamrock Rovers last year would have beaten that crowd.
Compared to the opening week in 2018, the total numbers are up by 3,332. The average gate per game is up 666. If you go back to 2017, the first Gameweek featured ten games (from across the Premier and First Division) and attracted a total of 17,040. The five games this season beat that total by 752.
A solid start to the league but now it is over to Finn Harps, UCD, Sligo Rovers, Cork City and Shamrock Rovers to keep the momentum up as they have their first home games of the season next Friday night.
TOTAL GAMEWEEK 1 ATTENDANCE: 17,792 (2018 – 14,460, 2017 – 17,040)
AVERAGE GAMEWEEK 1 ATTENDANCE: 3,558 (2018 – 2,892, 2017 – 1,704)
LARGEST CROWD OF THE WEEK: Waterford 1-2 Shamrock Rovers – 4,152