Monday 22 January 2018

Wheels in motion to open up GAA grounds for Rugby World Cup bid

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

GALWAY club Salthill-Knocknacarra are to formally launch the campaign to ensure that GAA grounds are declared available for a bid to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

They will propose the motion at the Galway county convention on Monday night, asking delegates to vote in favour of opening up whatever GAA grounds are required as part of the IRFU bid to host the glamour event.

Central Council has already supported the move in principle, but it can only be implemented with a two-thirds majority in a Congress vote.

If Congress approves the change and the IRFU proceed with a bid, Pearse Stadium is one of the GAA grounds which will feature in the presentation.

"It's right here on our doorstep and we're keen to be associated it from the start. That's why we will be proposing the motion," said Salthill-Knocknacarra chairman David Burke.

"We'd expect to get good support because clearly there's a lot to be gained by everybody if the bid to host the World Cup is successful."

Croke Park, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Casement Park, Limerick Gaelic Grounds, Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney and Pearse Stadium are the GAA grounds being lined up alongside the Aviva Stadium, Thomond Park, the RDS and Ravenhill to complete the stadium package for the bid.

As things stand, Croke Park is the only GAA stadium that can be used for rugby or soccer games, but it's no longer required since the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road.

However, the IRFU would not be in a position to bid for the Rugby World Cup without a commitment from the GAA that they could use some of their grounds.

Since it requires a rule change by the GAA, it's necessary to go through the formal process of being passed at Congress in order to clear the way for the IRFU to take their bid a stage further.

Irish Independent

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