Munster are feeling rightly proud of their new High Performance Centre, which they hope will provide coaches and players with all the necessary tools to propel the province back into Europe’s elite.
“The centre is a symbol of Munster’s ambition on and off the field,” said Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald. Designed by award-winning architect David Lennon of Reddy Architects & Urbanism, the dedicated training centre is part of an overall €15 million construction that will also see a new 25m swimming pool and diving centre added in January to the existing facilities at UL, including an indoor arena and Olympic-size pool.
The 2,370 sq m base is believed to have cost around €5m with the construction costs paid for by the university and Munster signing a 15-year lease on the three-storey building and spending upwards of €250,000 on the fit-out.
“We were renting two premises (at UL and Cork Institute of Technology) already,” Garrett Fitzgerald said, “and our initial thing was to be cost neutral on what we were repaying on the two centres and other savings we were making. The additional add-on of the extra space in the building is where the commercial board came in to assist us and help us. That is the funding model in the layman’s terms.”
The plaque inside the entrance to the HPC is another reminder that nothing in life is free, Munster showing their gratitude to its “Friends”, the sponsors and patrons who helped realise the dream of creating a single training base in Munster. The commercial board, headed by Niall Fitzgerald, raised the fit-out funds thanks to an effort led by corporate ambassador Doug Howlett to attract financial support through its Friends of Munster Rugby Programme. Hence the HPC’s Bimeda Gym, the CompuB Video Analysis Suite and the Greencore Group Kitchen.
Said director of rugby Rassie Erasmus: “I wish I could say that I was part of the planning for this excellent end product. Rugby union-wise it’s probably in the top 10 in the world.”
Pics: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
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