Wednesday 21 March 2018

Opening of grounds proof times have changed

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

IF you wanted definitive proof of how times have changed in the GAA, it came at Congress in Derry last Saturday.

Just eight years after the Association convulsed itself over whether to allow rugby and soccer into Croke Park while Lansdowne Road was undergoing redevelopment, a decision to also open up five other grounds was passed on a 93pc-7pc majority without one dissenting voice.

Presumably, the 7pc who voted against it were part of a 'no' lobby that opposed every motion without speaking.

The IRFU can now include Croke Park, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork, Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, Pearse Stadium, Galway and Casement Park, Belfast as part of the bid to stage either the 2023 or 2027 Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

It makes perfect sense on so many levels, but who would ever have thought 10 years ago that a proposal to play rugby at six GAA venues wouldn't even draw one objection at Congress? It truly does show how times have changed.

It also makes the nonsense that preceded the debate on opening Croke Park in 2005 – which at times reached fever pitch – look even more ridiculous.

Irish Independent

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