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What Munster stadiums could be included in a 2023 Rugby World Cup bid?

Where should the games be played if Ireland end up hosting the event in 10 years time?

IRELAND’S HOPES OF hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup progressed further this week.

The tournament is still a decade away and it’s a couple more years before an official bid would be made. But speculation about what the bid feature is starting to heat up and chief among that is what stadiums would be included.

It is envisaged that the IRFU will look to the GAA for six stadia as part of their bid. So what stadiums in Munster would be line to be included?

Thomond Park is surely a banker and Musgrave Park is the other main rugby stadium in the southern province. With capacity constraints likely to rule out stadia in Waterford and Clare, the county grounds in Cork, Kerry, Tipperary and Limerick should be in the running.

Here’s the six main contenders:

1. Fitzgerald Stadium

The Killarney venue has a capacity of just over 43,000 with three terraced areas and the main O’Sullivan stand. A major renovation took place in 2009 with new terracing increasing the capacity while new dressing rooms were also built.


Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

2. Gaelic Grounds

The Ennis Road venue has a capacity of around 50,000 with the stadium significantly upgraded in 2004 with the construction of the new uncovered North Stand.

The main covered stand is the Mackey Stand for a ground that apart from hosting GAA games, was also the venue for the first test of the 2010 International Rules series. The Gaelic Grounds is close to another major venue in the city with Thomond Park just a 20 minute walk away.


Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

3. Musgrave Park

The secondary rugby ground in the province with Munster playing some Rabo Pro 12 games there along with pre-season friendlies. Located on the southside of Cork city, the capacity is just over 9,000.

There are three terraces along with a covered stand in the West Terrace. With a small capacity, the venue has an outside chance of being selected in any potential bid.


Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne


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4. Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Cork’s main GAA stadium has a capacity of 43,500. Plans are currently afoot to redevelop a stadium which has been heavily criticised for its deteriorating condition in recent years.

The overhaul of the venue which would see its capacity increase to 45,000. The existing covered stand will be replaced by a three-tier structure, the uncovered stand will be roofed and the terraces will both be upgraded. The development is currently at the planning permission stage.


Pic: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

5. Semple Stadium

The second largest stadium in the country after Croke Park, Semple Stadium can accommodate 53,000 supporters. In 2006 a major redevelopment of the stadium took place with floodlights installed in 2009.

The Riain and Kinnane Stands are both covered while there are two terraces – the Town End and the Killinan End. A strong contender to be included in any potential bid.


Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer

6. Thomond Park

A banker to be included in any Irish bid. The capacity of the stadium is currently 26,500 following a major redevelopment in 2008. There are two seated stands, the East and the West, along with the North and South terraces. It’s rugby heritage means it is certain to feature heavily.


Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Tomorrow TheScore.ie looks at what Leinster stadiums could be included.

GAA wanted to ‘put the country first’ by backing 2023 World Cup bid

Cabinet approves plans to progress support for Irish bid to host Rugby World Cup

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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