It will be ‘Friday night lights’ for Shannon and Garryowen after it was confirmed that the first AIB League game to take place at the redeveloped Thomond Park Stadium will see the Limerick rivals clash under floodlights on Friday, October 17 at 7.30pm.
This annual fixture rarely needs additional forces to add spice to the intense rivalry, but Friday week’s game under the glare of the Thomond Park Stadium floodlights will no doubt be a special occasion for both clubs.
It is not the first time these two giants of Irish rugby have played under floodlights at Thomond Park, but never have they had precious AIB League points on offer.
Shannon RFC are delighted to be back playing at this historic ground which has seen them blossom from a junior club to a fledgling senior club in 1954 to where they now stand in the upper echelons of Irish club rugby.
Speaking about the announcement, Shannon RFC President Liam Costello said he was looking forward to his club’s return to their long time home ground.
“I’m delighted that we’ll be back at Thomond Park for such an important match,” he admitted.
“The fact that it will be the first AIB League game in the magnificent new stadium and the added attraction of the floodlights will hopefully see a big crowd enjoy all the best that the AIB League has to offer.”
The co-operation shown by both clubs in agreeing to the arrangement that will see Shannon travel to Dooradoyle to play under Garryowen’s magnificent floodlights in their next AIB League meeting is admirable.
Club Chairman Jack Keane added: “Shannon RFC are extremely grateful to the Thomond Park management for facilitating this game.
“We are well aware of the restrictions regarding pitch usage for the first year of operation and we look forward to working with the stadium management throughout the course of the season in ensuring both parties complement each other.”
The game will not, however, be Shannon’s first home AIB League game this season. This Saturday, they host Buccaneers at Coonagh in a game that takes on a major significance given their first round defeat against Blackrock College.
Shannon will look to the past for precedent on this. They played an AIB League game on a Friday night under lights back in 1997 when they racked up 50 points against Old Crescent on their way to claiming the Division One title for the fourth successive season.
No one would dare bet on such a high score this time round though!