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Ballybrit gets different sort of shot in the arm!

For the majority of people, the only reason to travel to Ballybrit over the last two years has been to get their Covid shot.

But after a long wait, the hordes returned this week to the Galway Races as the flag was risen on the first post-pandemic summer racing festival.

And while there was plenty to celebrate, attendance for the earlier part of the week is trailing figures recorded for 2019 – something which Racecourse Manager, Michael Moloney, said comes as no surprise after the devastating blow Covid delivered to sports events.

“There were 15,200 here on Monday, which is down on 2019, but we expected that. After the last two years, it’s almost like starting from scratch again and building up again,” said Mr Moloney.

There were 5,000 fewer people at Monday evening’s meeting compared to pre-Covid times and Tuesday’s attendance of 13,132 was similarly down, to the tune of 1,500.

“The main thing is that we’re off and we’re on the road again. Advance ticket sales are well ahead of the 2019 figures. What we’re seeing is a lot of people who used to purchase tickets on the day are doing it in advance.

“Friday will be a big night – we’re expecting a really good crowd in,” added Mr Moloney.

Suggestions that the All-Ireland final on Sunday had an impact on attendance were likely to be overstated, he said, as he believed it would result in more people coming to the races as they were reintroduced to attending live sporting events.

Get the full story – and loads of social photos – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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