Friday 23 June 2017

Aviva la fiesta for new stadium's party

Fergus Black

Groundsmen at the new 50,000-seat Aviva Stadium buffed up the seats yesterday, in preparation for today's first match at the €410m venue.

The staff were making sure everything was shipshape in the stands and on the pitch, in preparation for the stadium's curtain-raiser. This is the O2 rugby challenge match between a Leinster-Ulster and a Connacht-Munster selection.

It has taken more than three years to remove the much-loved home of Irish rugby and soccer, Lansdowne Road -- which hosted its first rugby international in 1878 -- and replace it the impressively futuristic-looking new stadium. Fans of both Irish and English soccer will get the chance to sample the new venue when an Airtricity League XI plays a Manchester Utd selection next Wednesday.

And a week later, Giovanni Trapattoni's "boys in green" will christen the new venue when Ireland takes on the beaten World Cup quarter-finalists Argentina, in a friendly international ahead of the European qualifiers later in the year.

Irish Independent

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