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Croke Park to host final in Rugby World Cup bid

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Tanaiste Joan Burton, TD with Ireland internationals Paddy Jackson and Andrew Trimble

Tanaiste Joan Burton, TD with Ireland internationals Paddy Jackson and Andrew Trimble

Ireland international Robbie Henshaw

Ireland international Robbie Henshaw

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Tanaiste Joan Burton, TD with Ireland internationals Paddy Jackson and Andrew Trimble

Croke Park will not only host the final of the 2023 Rugby World Cup but both semi-finals as well, if Ireland wins the selection battle.

The vast GAA headquarters in Dublin with its 82,300 seats is the only stadium on the island that could accommodate the three most important games of the tournament.

The Irish Government and Northern Ireland Executive have united to back the audacious bid by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) to host the tournament in nine years time.

The GAA has agreed to make the Dublin stadium available for the top three games in 2023 as well as making a number of its other leading sports grounds available for tournament games, the Sunday Times reports.

A figure of €10m has been mentioned as a direct payment to the GAA for allowing the use of various stadiums. The GAA has made tens of millions of euro from hiring out Croke Park for non-GAA events, although it lost out financially when the planned Garth Brooks concerts being cancelled this year.

The IRFU has expressed confidence that it can successfully win agreement from the International Rugby Board to host the tournament and the backing of the GAA has been crucial for its bid.

Endorsements

The IRFU's €127m bid to host the event has been strengthened by the strong endorsements from the authorities on both parts of the island. "Ireland will put together a winning bid that will be impossible to resist," Taoiseach Enda Kenny said

The North's First Minister Peter Robinson has spoken of the Executive's strong determination to bring the tournament to Ireland and the Kingspan stadium headquarters of Ulster rugby was undergoing a £14.7m revamp.

Casement Park GAA stadium in West Belfast has been earmarked as a venue, but local residents are opposing its expansion. And an Irish Football Association spokesman stated it would be willing to make Windsor Park soccer stadium available, if requested.

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