Munster Rugby would “love” to stage a European Champions Cup game at the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh, chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald has said, in a wide-ranging interview published in Saturday's Irish Examiner, writes Simon Lewis.
The redeveloped GAA stadium will re-open this summer as a 45,000-capacity state of the art sports venue with rugby's national governing body the IRFU including Páirc Uí Chaoimh as one of its proposed venues for Ireland's 2023 Rugby World Cup bid, to be decided by World Rugby this November.
The Champions Cup is organised by EPCR, which has shown an appetite to take its games to new venues in the past, and Páirc Uí Chaoimh would meet all the criteria required by it to host a semi-final, in terms of amenities and satisfying home country advantage without being the regular home stadium of the qualifying club.
Nothing could happen without the permission of the GAA's Central Council but with Munster Rugby providing the majority of the 52,000 crowd at Dublin's Aviva Stadium last month for their home-country semi-final against Saracens, there would clearly be an appetite for such a game within the province.
While there are clearly many hurdles to clear for Munster's men in red to take to the Páirc Uí Chaoimh field, not least a willingness by the IRFU to turn its back on its own Aviva Stadium and hand coffers over to the GAA, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility and CEO Fitzgerald said: “If you're asking if the opportunity arose in the future for us to do that, we'd love to do it.
“But it's not our decision and it won't be our decision, on the availability of the stadium or the game, given that it is run by EPCR.
“If we got the opportunity to play in Pairc Ui Chaoimh we'd certainly look at it.”
Read the full interview with Garrett Fitzgerald in Saturday's Irish Examiner Weekend Sport.