Capital to score €21m from rugby double-bill
IN what will be a massive boost for the capital and country, over 22,000 foreign rugby fans are set to descend on Irish shores for one of the biggest sporting weekends of the year.
The countdown for both the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals has begun and organisers are anticipating a €21m revenue boost for the city thanks to travelling supporters.
In a home advantage for Leinster, Leo Cullen's side will go up against Stade Francais on Friday, May 17, in the Amlin Challenge Cup decider at the RDS.
The following day will mark the first time Ireland has played host to the Heineken Cup final in 10 years, and come Saturday, May 18, Dublin will be awash with a French army to see Clermont Auvergne battle it out with Toulon for the European title at the Aviva Stadium.
ERC chief executive Derek McGrath said with the added bonus of The Gathering this year, they had gone "all out" to make sure next weekend was one to remember.
"This is a very exciting time, we've been working on this for 12 months.
"We're looking at two packed events, over 70,000 people watching both games," Mr McGrath said.
Merrion Square will serve as the headquarters for match-goers, with a Champions Village opening to the public from noon on Heineken Cup final day. Revellers will enjoy live music, interactive games and a Heineken Cup trophy booth, as well as a live broadcast of the game itself, along with bars and food stalls.
In addition, the ERC, working in tandem with Failte Ireland, developed 5,000 golden ticket packages, offering seats to both finals and a one-day free admission pass to more than 30 attractions around the city.
Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise O Muiri officially received both trophies yesterday in the build-up to the matches.