Topic – “What should the IRFU do now that plans for the National Stadium have been postponed.”
As a member of a Rugby Club (Co. Carlow) and a lifelong fan of rugby, I have always enjoyed traveling to Lansdowne Road for international matches. An international match in Lansdowne Road are not just about the game,- it is about going to the pubs beforehand, walking to the match and enjoying the atmosphere afterwards all around the general area of Lansdowne Road. Unlike other venues (especially Twickenham), when there is a match on in Dublin you always know about it and there is always a buzz. I would very much like this special atmosphere to remain. I fear it would be lost if the move to Abbottstown goes ahead.
As the development of the National Stadium has now been postponed, I would like to see the IRFU take advantage of the situation and to do what most rugby people want done – develop Lansdowne Road into a World class rugby stadium. It does not have to be an 85,000 seater, 60,000 will be plenty.
So here is my suggestion.
Do a deal with the GAA for a defined short period of time – say 2 years. Most rugby matches are played when Croke Park is not in use, so with a little persuasion and good-will on both sides I believe this could be achieved. The whole of Lansdowne Road could be developed so that it housed one pitch only, possibly building it at a 45% angle to its current position. The entrances could be developed so that the crush at the turnstiles would be eliminated.
The major benefit of this would be a world class stadium on the grounds of the oldest international ground in the world.
All of the amenities are already there (trains, pubs, restaurants) so there would not be a need for major infrastructure development. But most importantly of all, that special atmosphere that currently exists, that all visitors to Lansdowne Road cherish (from home and abroad), would remain.
So my plea to the IRFU is “please do not take Lansdowne Road away from us”
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