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Slow progress for Connacht in search for new home

“Sometimes the timelines that we would like to move on aren’t matching timelines of others,” says CEO Willie Ruane.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

CONNACHT CEO WILLIE Ruane says the province is continuing to work at securing a new home but that progress has been slower than planned.

He said the conflicting timelines of other interested groups was the main factor in the delay to give an update on Connacht’s plans to build a new home either at their current base at the Sportsground or elsewhere in the region.

He admitted he would have liked to see some more development at this stage but that work on it was continuing on a daily basis

Last April Pat Lam said that Connacht needed a ‘realistic stadium of 10-15,000 people’ to grow to its full extent, while Ruane said he wanted to have a ‘clear idea by the end of this summer’ when he unveiled Connacht’s ‘Vision and Strategy’ document at the Aviva Stadium last May.

At that same event Ruane said Connacht Rugby had started discussions about a possible redevelopment with their landlord, the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB), but according to the CEO, a decision has yet to be reached as to what Connacht’s favoured option is.

“No I don’t have any update that would add an awful lot to what we would have said previously,” said Ruane. “(We will have an update) as soon as I am able to give you something that I can hang my hat on.

“I think we would all have liked to have seen it move a little bit quicker, but there is very sound reasons for that, in terms of us being clear in what we want to do. So I don’t have an awful lot more to add to it.”

Pat Lam and Willie Ruane Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A number of options have been mooted including: a move to a greenfield site at the Galway Docks or elsewhere; to the home of Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park; or the redevelopment of their current College Road base.

According to Ruane, a number of possible options have been assessed and it’s now just a matter of choosing one, while clearing some obstacles that remain in place.

It is still a very live situation. It isn’t that it is anything that is being put to the back-burner. It is one of the first things we are dealing with every day.

“But to make progress you are obviously involved with a number of other different parties, sometimes the time lines that we would like to move on aren’t matching timelines of others.

“We have a number of options and really at this stage it is simply a stage of saying which one. They are all costed, they are all scoped out. It is really a case of saying which one is the most realistic and viable option and that’s across a number of different measures.”

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Declan Rooney

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