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Croke Park Agreement: Coach/Players’ Reactions

Croke Park Agreement: Coach/Players’ Reactions

Click here for Eddie O’Sullivan and his players’ reactions to Tuesday’s announcement that Croke Park will be available to host rugby internationals in 2007.

…Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan standing on the sideline at Croke Park, where the men in green are expected to kick off their 2007 RBS 6 Nations campaign against France on February 11 next year…

EDDIE O’SULLIVAN (Irish Independent): “If you ask any of our players, they are all looking forward to the opportunity of playing at Croke Park. They have said to me that they would love to some day run out in a Test game there. It will be fantastic when it happens.

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“Confirmation that we will be playing at Croke Park is great news for everyone. It’s a phenomenal, state-of-the-art stadium, one of the very best in Europe at the moment. If we can fill it for our two home internationals against France and England, it will be incredible.”

DENIS LEAMY (Irish Examiner): “I remember being at Croke Park as a kid and there was barbed wire fencing around the ground and a lot of it was uncovered at the time. It’s an awesome stadium now. It’s probably one of the best in Europe, if not in the world. Obviously, I want to play there. If it’s not going to be hurling for Tipperary, it’s going to be a great honour if I get the chance to play rugby for Ireland there.

“It was a little hard to see it happening up to a few years ago but with Rule 42 going out the window, everything changed. Certainly, a lot of people around my area in Tipperary definitely support the playing of rugby and soccer in Croke Park. It would be a terrible shame if Irish teams had to travel outside of Ireland to play their so-called home internationals.”

JEREMY STAUNTON (Setanta Sports): “I’m from a GAA background, and it always was my dream to play at Croke Park for Limerick in the football.

“So, if it could happen now in the rugby, it would be brilliant.”

ANTHONY FOLEY (Irish Examiner): “Every Irish lad would love to run out on Croke Park. I was brought up in a GAA background as well as a rugby background so playing at Croke Park has always been a dream and even going there has always been a highlight for me. It’s a magnificent stadium and a place for any Irishman to be proud of and it will be a hell of a day when France come calling in a year or so.”

JAMIE HEASLIP (Setanta Sports): “I wouldn’t mind (playing at Croke Park) at all. Playing in front of an 80,000 crowd would be just mind-blowing.

“They’re big games as well. Playing France or England at Croker, and running out onto that pitch would be unbelievable. I wouldn’t even be able to imagine what that would feel like, so it’s something to hopefully look forward to.”