Ladies' GAA final: Leo Varadkar praises attendance

Sinéad Goldrick, left, and Hannah O'Neill of Dublin lift the Brendan Martin Cup following the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images) Image copyright Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images
Image caption Dublin's women won the senior final against Galway, a day after the men's team won their fifth Gaelic football championship in a row

The taoiseach (Irish prime minister) has hailed the record breaking attendance at this year's ladies' All-Ireland football finals day.

Leo Varadkar pledged in a tweet that the attendance was "great" and that the government "will continue to increase funding for sport in Budget 2020".

The attendance at Croke Park in Dublin on Sunday was 56,114.

That was just under 2,000 shy of the crowd that attended the Women's World Cup final in France this summer.

It is the seventh year in a row that there has been a growth in the finals' day crowd with the figures more than doubling since 2013.

Croke Park stadium, the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), has a capacity of just over 82,000.

Three games were played on Sunday with Dublin defeating Galway to take the senior title.

Tipperary overcame Meath in a high-scoring and entertaining intermediate final and Louth secured the junior title against Ulster county Fermanagh in a high-scoring opener.

The Ladies Gaelic Football Association was founded in 1974 but Ireland's ladies have been playing Gaelic games for a lot longer - in particular Camogie, a version on the ancient game of hurling.

What is Gaelic football?

Gaelic Football is Ireland's most popular sport - being played more in schools than rugby or soccer.

Teams have 15 players. A point is scored when the ball is kicked or punched over the crossbar of H-shaped goalpost - with three points for a goal scored under the crossbar, on a pitch somewhat larger than a soccer or rugby field.

Its popularity derives from a parish-based structure organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association, Ireland's biggest sporting organisation, which was founded in 1884 as part of national cultural and political movement in the drive for independence from the UK.

The club is an integral part of many communities in Ireland - and a focal point for other social and community activities.

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