Ulster secure funding for major redevelopment of Ravenhill
A major redevelopment at the home of Ulster Rugby will get under way later this month after the club secured almost £15m (€18.6m) of promised Government funding.
The construction of three new stands at Ravenhill in east Belfast is due to be completed by the summer of 2014.
The revamp will increase capacity at the historic venue from 11,400 to 18,000.
It provides a timely boost for a team on the up. Tickets for Ulster games are currently at a premium, with their unbeaten start to the season leading to frequent sell-outs.
The work on Ravenhill mirrors similar Stormont Executive-backed redevelopments at Belfast's Casement Park gaelic games venue and Windsor Park football stadium, the home of the Northern Ireland international team.
Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has officially released the £14.7million pledged for Ulster Rugby's plan.
The club is seeking a naming partner for the new-look stadium and new stands will go up at the Memorial and Aquinas ends by next June before the existing main stand is torn down and replaced.
Ulster Rugby chief executive Shane Logan said: "This investment will create a modern, state-of-the-art stadium with the highest standard of facilities for both supporters and players. The new Ravenhill will enhance the position of Ulster Rugby in the world game and will greatly benefit the development of rugby in the Province."