18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the GAA, the IRFU and the FAI confirmed that agreement has been reached for the use of Croke Park for rugby and soccer internationals in 2007.
It has been confirmed that Lansdowne Road will not be operational in 2007 due to redevelopment proposals and the IRFU and FAI are required to confirm their international home fixture venues with their respective International Boards in the next few weeks. Discussions on the possible use of Croke Park have been ongoing over the last few weeks and these discussions are scheduled to continue relative to operational matters.
Two rugby internationals in February and at least three soccer internationals in March, October and November are scheduled to take place in 2007.
The situation post 2007 has not been discussed or considered and any future application will be reviewed in the context of the Lansdowne Road Development project in 2007.
IRFU Chief Executive Mr. Philip Browne said: "This agreement represents a significant milestone in Irish sporting history.
It will be a major celebration for Irish sport and indeed for the general public in Ireland. The entire rugby community looks forward to what will be magnificent sporting occasions at Croke Park."
The Chief Executive of the FAI, Mr. John Delaney, described today's agreement as "an historic day for soccer and for sport in Ireland.
"We are delighted to have reached agreement with the GAA in a very positive, productive and businesslike manner. The prospect of the Irish international soccer team playing in Croke Park will appeal to everyone who has an interest in sport," he added.
Philip Browne and John Delaney, on behalf of their respective organisations and supporters, expressed their appreciation to the entire GAA organisation and its management team for their open approach to facilitating the International commitments of the IRFU and the FAI.
Terms and conditions of the agreement are confidential to the respective parties.Mr. Sean Kelly, President of the GAA, stated that he was pleased that agreement had been reached between the respective Sporting Organisations. He said that the development was practical and necessary to ensure that Irish sport and Irish sports followers did not have to travel abroad and that the Irish economy will still benefit from having access to home games while Lansdowne Road Stadium is being developed.