The FAI are hopeful that Saturday’s international friendly with Belgium will sell out as ticket sales have reached the 48,000 mark.
nd the lower profile meeting with Lithuania three days later looks set to beat projections with almost 33,000 tickets already sold for that encounter.
Ireland fans voted with their feet when stadiums reopened last autumn by coming out to support Stephen Kenny’s side, a factor that strengthened the manager’s hand when it came to board ruminations over his new contract.
Record season ticket sales (more than 18,500) for the six home games in 2022 backed up that point.
The enthusiasm has spilled over into general admission purchases for the Aviva Stadium double header that kicks off the international year.
Number one ranked Belgium are leaving any players with more than 50 caps behind for their trip to Dublin, but the absence of Kevin De Bruyne and co has not affected the Irish audience.
It’s now anticipated that the turnout for the Saturday evening (5.0) encounter will fill the Dublin 4 venue.
Lithuania was always likely to attract a smaller crowd, but early sales suggest the attendance could top the 40,000 mark.
Meanwhile, midfielder Alan Browne feels the high ticket sales are a vindication of the side’s form under Kenny.
“It’s massive, it looks like we’ve turned a corner, every credit to the manager and getting the fans back onside with us, that connection there amongst ourselves and the fans has been evident with ticket sales going through the roof, you can see that,” he said.
“So hopefully they’re taking to the new brand of football and the way that we’re trying to do things and things are looking good for us,” Browne said today before the first training session of the week.
“I think it’s always important to have fans on our side because they’re the ones going through the gate to pay the money to watch the football and I think credit to the manager, he stuck to his guns.
“He stuck to what he wanted us to do and it is a long process as you probably know, he came under a lot of criticism at first but it starting to look up now with performances and results, which is the most important thing.”