How can a rugby team train at a GAA club?
THE GAA are expected to seek clarification from the Nemo Rangers club in Cork after Declan Kidney's Irish team trained at their home venue yesterday.
The GAA's rule-book bars all clubs from allowing rugby or soccer to use their property, even though the reverse -- other sports allowing GAA teams to use their facilities -- is a regular occurrence, even at inter-county level.
Under the GAA's Rule 5.1, clubs who allow rugby or soccer clubs to use their facilities, including halls and dressing rooms, are liable to automatic suspension.
It was because of this rule that a much-publicised special derogation was needed to allow rugby and soccer to be played at Croke Park, a highly contentious decision in some of the GAA's more traditional circles.
A Nemo Rangers spokesman clarified yesterday that the rugby team only trained indoors at the Trabeg Sports Centre which he described as "a separate commercial operator attached" to Nemo Rangers.
"The rugby team wasn't anywhere near the GAA pitches or the side of the complex vested in the GAA," he told the Irish Independent.
He added that such a visit was not unprecedented because the Munster rugby team and their academy have been using the Trabeg Sports Centre for training for several seasons.
When the Irish team's original training ground in Cork was frozen off yesterday, they moved to train at the indoor facility within Nemo Rangers' grounds -- as pictured above.
The sight of the rugby team training in a facility that GAA fans so readily identify with Nemo Rangers will raise the hackles of hardliners and fuel some debate, especially as the issue of keeping Croke Park open to other sports is due to be discussed again at this year's Congress. Famous Cork city club Nemo Rangers was one of sport's biggest beneficiaries in the Celtic Tiger boom.
The sale of their previous grounds on the South Douglas Road allowed Nemo move to a new site at the South Ring Road in 2006 and develop a top class club facility which is widely regarded as one of the best in Irish sport and includes the best indoor hurling facility in the country.