Tuesday 17 October 2017

Connacht weigh up switch from the Sportsgrounds to Galway United ground-share

Discussions underway as province contemplate revenue-boosting Galway United ground-share

Eamonn Deacy Park is likely to be the home of Premier Division League of Ireland football in Galway when it returns to the city. Photo: Sportsfile
Eamonn Deacy Park is likely to be the home of Premier Division League of Ireland football in Galway when it returns to the city. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Connacht are investigating the possibility of ground-sharing with Galway United at a re-developed Eamonn Deacy Park.

The Irish Independent understands that representatives of the province are scheduled to meet with the Galway FA, who own the ground, next week, having already held discussions with FAI chief executive John Delaney about the possibility of redeveloping the facility.

The work would see the capacity of the old Terryland Park increase to between 8,000 and 12,000, with the addition of corporate and catering facilities offering the opportunity to greatly boost the revenues available to both the province and the soccer club.

The Pro12 champions have signalled their intentions to increase their capacity and improve the experience for fans, having out-grown the 7,800-capacity Sportsground.

Their first choice has been to remain at a redeveloped Sportsground and they have held discussions with Bord na gCon, from whom they sub-let the stadium, but a move to Terryland has emerged as a strong possibility if the Galway FA approve.

The provision for the development of a municipal stadium formed part of Galway City Council's city development plan 2017-22, which was launched in July. Connacht chief Willie Ruane described a new stadium as an "utmost priority" for the province last May.

"We've done a lot of work as to what we believe a stadium should look like," he said. "We have two options, one is staying. The other is moving and we believe we have some strong potential in that area."

Meanwhile, Sean O'Brien and Robbie Henshaw are on schedule to be fit in time for Ireland's Chicago clash with New Zealand in November, according to Leinster coach Leo Cullen, who is expecting the duo back in mid-October.

Cian Healy, Rob Kearney and Mike McCarthy came through Friday's final pre-season game against Bath unscathed, but Johnny Sexton is still "a couple of weeks" away from a return.

Irish Independent

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