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One of Clare’s most well known hurling supporters is leading the call for more crowds to be permitted to attend GAA inter-county games.

On Thursday evening, Minister of State for Sport, Jack Chambers (FF) announced that 3000 spectators would be allowed to attend Sunday’s Munster SHC semi-final at LIT Gaelic Grounds equating at 6 percent of the stadia’s capacity.

Kildysart’s John Joe Costelloe is noted as one of Clare’s most prominent hurling supporters, however he has been unable to attend any championship match involving Brian Lohan’s side for the past two seasons.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, John Joe recounted, “It’s not the same without the crowds, you used to travel everywhere following them, it’s not the same without the atmosphere. We travelled everywhere, league games, we would send in a poem before the match and be among the first to greet the team when they arrive. There is no game like the hurling, it is a wonderful game, with players like Tony Kelly you would travel anywhere. It is a shame not to let more in”.

Now fully vaccinated, he said that he would feel safe by attending a championship game. “Supporting Clare is great for people, it gets people out of the house and it gets them together, the support has been unreal for Clare in the last few years”.

“You’d miss it terribly, you’d miss the team going out on the pitch, the parade and the fantastic supporters. Please God they win on Sunday. The team misses it too, it is very dead without supporters, the players make what the GAA what it is today and so do the supporters,” John Joe added.

He has fully decorated his home once again in his favourite colour of saffron and blue to show his support for the hurlers, a task which takes about two days. Shane O’Donnell, David Fitzgerald and Tony Kelly are among those who have thanked him for his unwavering support. “It takes about two days to put them all up, it is lovely. It is well worth it. I have about 6 signs and a rake of flags and bunting. It would be great to keep it up until the All-Ireland, we came close in 2018 and should have done it really”.

More leniency should be followed to allow more spectators into games, the popular Banner follower said. “There should be at least 5,000 in Limerick, you could have 2,500 in each stand, you’d be watching the soccer and they had 40,000 in Wembley. Go into Dunnes and Tesco and it is packed with people, Killarney was packed with people on Saturday yet nobody was let into the match. The more people you have the more craic you have, the team likes to support. With Tony Kelly, Shane O’Donnell, David McInerney and John Conlon, the Galvins, Diarmuid Ryan, they are fantastic lads, the effort they make”.

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