Wednesday 26 October 2016

Connacht considering MacHale Park move​

Published 19/05/2016 | 02:30

Could we soon see rugby in MacHale Park?
Could we soon see rugby in MacHale Park?

Connacht are investigating the possibility of taking at least one of next season's European games to Mayo as they look at options beyond the Sportsground.

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The western province are looking at either redeveloping their home ground or moving to a new 10,000-plus capacity stadium in the next four years, but after seeing the demand for tickets sky-rocket on the back of their recent success, they are looking at short-term options for next year's Champions Cup.

Chief executive Willie Ruane says they are open to partnering with other sports in building a new facility and, with Castlebar's MacHale Park and Salthill's Pearse Stadium on the list of venues for Ireland's 2023 World Cup bid, the Mayo man says they are open to hosting a big game in his home county.

However, any game outside of Croke Park would require approval at GAA Congress next February after a proposal from Clare to open Gaelic grounds for other sports on a once-off basis was defeated at this year's Congress.

"Quite possibly, yeah. It would be foolish to rule anything out," Ruane said when asked if hosting a big game in Castlebar was a possibility. "If something makes sense, we'll look at it.

"You can be pretty sure that there aren't too many stones that we haven't turned over to try and establish what might be feasible or not."

Connacht chief executive Willie Ruane. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO
Connacht chief executive Willie Ruane. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO

Ruane believes Pat Lam will remain at the Sportsground next season despite interest from Bath, adding that Lam does not have a clause in his contract that allows him to leave.

"I 100pc believe Pat will be in charge next year, it isn't something that I am concerned about," he said.

"There's no specific clauses with regards to bigger clubs or Premiership clubs."

Irish Independent

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