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Munster v Leinster rescheduled for May, but Ed Sheeran concerts puts Thomond in doubt

Munster CEO Ian Flanagan says the southern province ‘will do everything possible in exhausting all avenues to play the game at Thomond.’

Thomond Park.
Thomond Park.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

MUNSTER AND LEINSTER’S postponed Christmas interpro has been rescheduled for the final weekend of the United Rugby Championship’s regular season and will take place either on 20, 21 or 22 May. However, the fixture may need to be moved from Thomond Park due to the potential impact of four Ed Sheeran concerts on the ground’s playing surface earlier that same month.

To allow for Munster and Leinster’s postponed Round 8 clash, as well as Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors’ second postponed derby from Round 9, to be played on dates outside of the Six Nations window, the URC have moved Munster and Leinster’s final-weekend fixtures with Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively to 11 February, a Six Nations weekend.

This reshuffle will, in theory, allow the Irish provinces and their Scottish counterparts to field their international players for two of the competition’s marquee derbies, both of which will now take place in Round 18. However, Glasgow’s reverse fixture with Edinburgh — which had been scheduled to take place at Scotstoun in Round 8, a week before their trip to the Scottish capital — could be moved only to 18 March, the final weekend of the Six Nations.

no-archive-no-sales-editorial-use-only-ed-sheeran-performs-during-day-two-of-capitals-jingle-bell-ball-with-barclaycard-at-londons-o2-arena-picture-date-saturday-december-12-2021 Ed Sheeran, through no fault of his own, could cost Munster and the Cork senior hurlers home fixtures in the spring. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

While Munster will naturally still be the ‘home’ side for their May encounter with their eastern neighbours (they face Leinster in Dublin on 2 April in the corresponding fixture), the southern province will face a significant logistical issue if they are to stage the game at their home ground in Limerick.

English singer-songwriter Sheeran is due to play concerts at Thomond on 5, 6, 7 and 8 May — and Munster CEO Ian Flanagan confirmed today that his club are “currently reviewing the feasibility of playing a game on the pitch two weeks later.”

Flanagan stressed, however, that “in meeting all requirements and prioritising our commercial partners, 10-Year ticket holders and season-ticket holders, we will do everything possible in exhausting all avenues to play the game at Thomond Park.”

munster-fans Munster fans at Thomond. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The URC are aware of the potential speedbump and say they are “working with Munster to confirm the venue and will publish the fixture details in due course.”

One theoretical backup venue, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, has been spitballed as a potential European semi-final home ground for Munster in recent years and was even rumoured to be in the frame to host a Munster-Leinster Christmas interpro in 2019 — although this speculation was later quashed.

However, the home of Cork GAA will also host Sheeran in the spring, on 28 and 29 April, and those gigs have already dictated that the Cork senior inter-county hurlers will have their home Munster championship round-robin match with Clare on 15 May moved out of the Páirc.


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a-general-view-of-pairc-ui-chaoimh Ed Sheeran is also playing at theoretical backup venue Páirc Uí Chaoimh this spring, but over a week earlier on 28 and 29 April. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Discussing all of today’s confirmed fixture moves, URC tournament director David Jordan said: “This is an innovative solution to help keep two derby matches outside of the Six Nations window and it is a great credit to all of the teams and broadcasters involved for their willingness to work with us in this situation.

“In these circumstances we hope that the fans of these teams will look forward to the derby games in Round 18 where so much will be at stake ahead of the URC quarter-finals.

“Of course, given the number of URC teams involved in EPCR knock-out fixtures, it has not been possible to keep all of our derby games out of the Six Nations window, but as we continue to reschedule matches we hope to have another positive update shortly.”

Rescheduled URC Fixtures

Friday, 11 February

  • Leinster v Edinburgh, RDS Arena, 6pm
  • Glasgow Warriors v Munster, Scotstoun, 8.15pm; (both live on TG4, Premier Sports, SuperSport & URC.tv)

Friday, 18 March

  • Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh, 19:35 (Premier Sports, SuperSport, URC.tv)

Weekend of 20/21/22 May (details to be confirmed)

  • Munster v Leinster (live on RTÉ, Premier Sports, SuperSport & URC.tv)
  • Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors (live on Premier Sports, SuperSport & URC.tv)

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