There have been many complaints surrounding the lack of atmosphere within the Aviva Stadium following their win against Italy, how can the IRFU fix this?

Not even a 4am alarm to catch my flight could dampen the excitement for my trip to the Aviva to watch Ireland play Italy at the Aviva Stadium in 2022. I was beyond excited, and as I took my seat, I felt the exact same feeling I had as a child in the stands for Brian O’Driscoll’s last Test match for the Irish in Dublin.

There was no bidding farewell to a bona fide legend this time, but having lost to France in Paris in the previous round, a response was needed from the Irish. Brush aside the Azzurri, as expected, and there was still an outside chance that Andy Farrell’s men could lift the championship should les Bleus falter.

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Ireland kept up their end, romping to a 52-5 victory. They took advantage of a disjointed Italian side, running in nine tries and keeping the pressure on France as their opponents looked to leave Dublin with some pride remaining.

The visitors were, of course, still looking to break that seven-year wait for a win – which would ultimately come two rounds later in Cardiff – and were massive underdogs even before they went down to 13 men early in the first half.

That only exacerbated the lack of atmosphere at the match as the result became even more inevitable than it already was at the start of the day. There was a feeling similar to what football fans might experience at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium: a flat atmosphere with an impending sense that the win will come no matter what. No spice, niggle, needle or real feeling.

While my experience was two years ago, the same problems have reared their head in the 2024 Six Nations. Another cakewalk against the Azzurri in a stadium where ticket prices are soaring and corporate clientele are replacing your regular fan has seen the atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium once again come under the spotlight.

Is the Aviva Stadium atmosphere a constant issue?

The atmosphere within the crowd seems to be a constant issue for the Irish when they are playing opponents they are expected to beat relatively easily. This is eerily similar to why the Etihad has been slammed for a lack of atmosphere. Why bother belting out songs when your team will stroll to victory regardless?

The expectation is that Pep Guardiola’s star-studded side will stroll to victory virtually every time they play at home. Some even accuse City fans of not even bothering to show up now because winning is so easy for them. There’s a reason people call it the ‘Emptyhad’

Before Saturday’s clash against Italy, Ireland had won their last 17 matches in a row at the Aviva, a luxury that the nation has never had before, having been awarded many Wooden Spoons in their time.

While an on-field comparison to Man City might be favourable, Ireland do not want to receive the same reputation in this regard.

That’s not to say that it’s always a damp squib at the home of the back-to-back-to-back Premier League champions. They have had some electric atmospheres, famously the dramatic final day in 2012 when they won their first Premier League title against QPR (Aguerrrooooooooo) and their annihilation of Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final on the way to securing the trophy for the first time in their history last season.

And to be fair to Ireland, it seems that for the big matches or when the likes of New Zealand or South Africa visit Dublin, the atmosphere is unmatched. So why the drop-off?

What is leading to the problems with the atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium?

A key issue is the pricing of tickets.

When a team are winning games and competitions regularly to become one of the best in the sport, there will always be demand for tickets, and there are few better teams in world rugby than Ireland right now.

Naturally, the success has led led to an increase in the price of tickets as governing bodies understand that people will be willing to pay more to potentially be part of history. It’s simple supply and demand.

But when the cheapest tickets to attend matches are regularly above £100, it will inevitably drive fans away. Some fans complain about other fans treating the Aviva like a pub with a match in the background, with punters not overly interested in what is happening on the pitch. Something Twickenham has also grappled with.

This undoubtedly is frustrating for the fans denied the chance to take in the game of the team they had regularly watched prior to the hike in prices or, and perhaps more importantly, potential new fans who have never had the chance to see the Boys in Green and may never get to without some serious spending power.

The IRFU would love to be able to lift the atmosphere from the province of Munster at Thormond Park to the Aviva, but one easy solution to ramp up the atmosphere would be to lower the ticket prices – the cheapest ticket in Limerick is around £20.

With a Wales side considered to be far off the pace that Ireland are setting for this Six Nations, it will be interesting to see what the atmosphere will be like at the Aviva this weekend.

The Welsh and the Irish have had some incredible games in the Six Nations, and many will hope that it will be another. Should this be the case, Ireland will need their fans to create a cauldron of noise to strike fear into Warren Gatland’s side.

But that’s unlikely to transpire unless they can get close to them on the pitch. Ireland are expected to win the contest with relative ease, and so any buzz or excitement will slowly dissolve as fans settle in for a game that will most likely be the 18 win in a row at the Aviva.

Things are clicking on-field but there’s still improvement needed in the stands.

What do you make of the Aviva Stadium atmosphere? Let us know on social media or email

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