A crowd of 23,426 gathered in Croke Park yesterday for the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Camogie Finals day. First Antrim, then Galway and finally Kilkenny after a memorable duel with Cork emerged as Champions and the atmosphere around the ground was a match for the sunshine that warmed the day.

Hundreds of thousands more will have come in from the garden or home from the park to tune in to RTÉ’s live coverage.

On Friday we wrote of the need for Camogie to find its ‘Passionistas’, fans who will take their love for the game at local level onto the national stage and come in numbers to support not just the playing counties but the whole sport.

They need to be willing to stand up and get their sport back onto more of a level footing with Ladies’ Football which has surged ahead in terms of player numbers, visibility and attendance over recent years.

There are grounds for optimism. This was the fifth ‘normal’ final in a row to break 20,000 and the second biggest stand-alone crowd to have gathered for the finals.

The target of 25,000, which was achieved twice but when the Senior game was a doubleheader with the Men’s U21 Final, remains elusive but has to be the aim once more when the big day rolls around again next summer.

Ten years ago in 2012, the attendance at the Camogie Final was 15,900 when Wexford beat Cork. Three weeks later the Ladies Football Final between Cork and Kerry drew 16,998.

The following year that latter number surged to 25,103 but Camogie dipped back to 15,063.

By 2019 the Dublin win over Galway in Football was watched live by 56,114 and last week’s clash between Meath and Kerry drew 46,440, twice the number that came for yesterday’s game.

Much of the Ladies’ Football success can be traced to the enthusiastic backing of Lidl. Camogie now has a long-term partnership in place with Glen Dimplex and they too can help to raise the bar.

The demographic of the crowd would be interesting to study were such information available. The Camogie day seems to be more female-dominated which is natural but in order to make the next step forward it will need to reach the male fans as well.

Scanning the crowd at any of the three other All Ireland Sunday’s might produce more of a balance with groups of young lads as well as whole families, just as it is these days across rugby and football too.

The drama of yesterday’s game will help with Kilkenny hauling in a two-point deficit via a goal with two minutes to go, then Cork levelling and Kilkenny edging ahead for a final time deep into injury time.

The Kilkenny fans who produced an 82,000 capacity against Limerick last month in the Hurling Final need to be persuaded of the fact that the drama of a Camogie match is equally deserving of their time. It may also take a fresh team to brek through the dominance of Kilkenny, Cork and Galway. And it may need close quarters work with RTÉ to heavily promote the fact that the Finals are on and an experience to be enjoyed live as well as remotely.

There is no doubt that the Camogie Association and the County Boards have the ambition, enthusiasm and imagination to go again next year and once more set the bar at 25,000, break it and kick on.

Everyone who puts the time and effort into the sport at local level, and as we said before will brook no argument on which is the best Gaelic Game, deserve the rest of the country to notice what they do and why they do it.