Rugby for Fitzgerald Stadium?

Paul Brennan

FITZGERALD Stadium in Killarney could be hosting an international rugby game within the next ten years if Ireland and the IRFU is successful is hosting the Rugby World Cup.

A motion was passed at the GAA's annual Congress last weekend giving the GAA's Central Council permission to allow GAA stadia be opened up for rugby and used in a bid by the IRFU to host the 2023 or 2027, and it's possible that Fitzgerald Stadium would be part of such a bid.

Fitzgerald Stadium committee chairman Der Brosnan said he would be very supportive of such a bid, which would be beneficial to the stadium, the people of Killarney and the GAA in Kerry.

"I would be totally in favour of any such bid, and as a stadium committee we would be very interested in it. I don't know what the criteria would be regarding improvements to the stadium but anything that would be needed would probably mean extra funding and that would be a good thing, " Mr Brosnan told The Kerryman.

"We have our own ongoing development plan in place and over the next ten years we would expect a lot of improvements made to Fitzgerald Stadium. I think we are slipping back a little compared to some other GAA stadiums around, so any extra funding or income would be most welcome. It seems that the criteria for rugby isn't as strict as for soccer, say with regard to being all seated, so I think we'd be a good option for rugby.

"2023 or 2027 seems a long way off but these things take a lot of planning and you would find a few years passing and then it would be here.

"As a stadium I think we are under-utilised and any extra games and income would be very helpful. Also, it would be very good for the businesses in Killarney and for the GAA in Kerry," Mr Brosnan added.

The Stadium held 42,000 last year for the meeting of Kerry and Cork in the Munster Championship, although under the guidelines of the Slattery Report on healthy and safety, the stadium is temporarily held to a capacity of about 35,000.