Why Semple Stadium Was Omitted From The Rugby World Cup Bid

Why Semple Stadium Was Omitted From The Rugby World Cup Bid
By Conor Neville

Ireland's Rugby World Cup bid relies heavily on both existing GAA grounds and GAA grounds not yet constructed or finished.

Two-thirds of the grounds selected are Gaelic Athletic Association grounds.

The eight GAA grounds that have been selected are Croke Park, Pairc Ui Chaoimh (Cork), Pearse Stadium (Galway), Casement Park (Belfast), Fitzgerald Stadium (Killarney), McHale Park (Castlebar), Nowlan Park (Kilkenny), Celtic Park (Derry).

It is likely that not all 12 stadiums will be employed if the bid is successful. Rugby World Cup will select either 8 or 10 from that twelve nominated by the Irish bid.

So, the GAA will have a central involvement in the bid. That being said, there was some surprise at the exclusion of the GAA's second biggest stadium, aka, Semple, aka, the most romanticised ground in hurling.

Despite boasting a capacity of 50,000, Semple Stadium will not form part of the bid. This will be a relief to some of the more ardent anti-rugby folk in the town. But it has annoyed one high-profile local politician.

Apparently, the die-hards have their town's shortage of accommodation to thank for being spared the spectacle of rugby being played on the sacred turf.

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Here's what Philip Browne had to say at the launch. And by the way, it's good to see Castlebar being elevated to the status of a 'city'. That at least should cause the All-Ireland whingers in the town to settle down a bit (joke).

With the big GAA stadia and the rugby stadia we have an ideal mix. It is up to Rugby World Cup to chose the final eight or ten. Ours is a sustainable solution. All are pre-existing stadia apart from Casement which is in the process.

All are city centre locations. There is no question of fans spending an hour on trains and two hours back after a match. So for a fan it will be absolutely unique of standing and terracing. We could convert to all-seater if we wanted but we want to retain some standing.

Meanwhile, it's clear that Enda Kenny took Mayo's loss in this year's All-Ireland final especially hard. He now can't stop yoking the county's despair into everything.

We witnessed this mere seconds after the final whistle in Chicago.

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And today at the launch, we were presented with this rather flimsy analogy.

The man had been good at maintaining some semblance of detachment after past defeats and had been able to get on with the job. But as he gets deeper into his Premiership, he is now desperate for a Mayo win before he leaves office.

 

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