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Leinster's RDS Arena home to get massive €17m revamp

THE most important 'home' in Dublin is about to get a spanking new refurbishment.

The RDS, home to European champions Leinster, will undergo a €17m revamp that will boost stadium capacity to 23,000.

The Main Arena has been a happy hunting ground for the Blues for seven years now -- a period that has seen them land the Heineken Cup twice, and is a daunting venue for rivals.

Since Leinster Rugby first played at the RDS, it has embarked on a major sports development programme.

The playing surface was completely relaid with high specification drainage and irrigation systems installed, along with new floodlighting.

After buying a new state-of- the-art seating system, the seated capacity of the ground was increased to 18,000, including the new sloping covered roof over the grandstand.

Now RDS chief executive Michael Duffy says the society is to press ahead with its plans to sell the naming rights to its Main Arena.







Springsteen

"There are a number of parties that we're engaged with at the moment, but the process still has some time to run," Mr Duffy said.

The RDS reported a strong showing by its exhibitions business and horse show, which saw it post a 22pc rise in its surplus in 2011.

The 281-year-old institution recorded a surplus of €1.64m in 2011 compared with €1.34m last year.

Major events booked for the RDS this year include the International Eucharist Congress, with thousands expected to attend from June 10 to 17.

Bruce Springsteen also returns to the RDS with two slots booked in July.

The horse show, which cost €3.9m to run last year, has changed its slot in August to avoid a clash with the London Olympics.

mlavery@herald.ie




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