Leinster Council pressing ahead with M50 stadium plan

Leinster GAA chief John Horan has given the strongest indication yet that a new stadium will be built close to Dublin’s M50 motorway, suggesting ground could be broken on the project within five years.

Leinster Council pressing ahead with M50 stadium plan

The provincial chief claimed a 40,000 capacity stadium could be a “calf of Croke Park” and has identified a potential site between junction seven and nine on Dublin’s M50 ring road.

The area is specifically located between the toll bridge and the Red Cow junction and, according to Horan, would be an ideal spot for the venue, which has been widely speculated on in the last decade but never pursued.

Horan was speaking at the launch of Leinster’s GAA strategic plan, 2015 to 2018, and outlined a number of other ambitious infrastructure projects.

The Dubliner revealed, for example, that between €6m and €20m will be invested in Meath’s Pairc Tailteann base while Westmeath, Kildare, Louth and Longford are all in the process of upgrading their grounds.

But the M50 stadium plan will grab most attention, with Horan suggesting it is “on the cards” to address the issue of games often being played in front of small crowds at cavernous Croke Park.

“You have developments going on in Casement Park and Cork, so I would see it as the next serious development that the GAA should take on,” said Horan. “There’s Aogán Ó Fearghail saying it as well, in a recent interview, that something has to be looked at.

“I’d say it’s on the cards.

“I feel it’s the way to go. You all know, when you come to Croke Park and the top deck is empty, it kills the atmosphere to the place.

“We could serve a new stadium by going out there and you know, concerts, you wouldn’t have the same residential issues if you had a stadium like that which you could hold it in.”

Horan estimated that four to five years was a realistic timeframe for turning the first sod on the project.

He acknowledged it would need backing from top GAA officials.

“If you build it, it’s got to serve the needs of Kildare, Meath, Louth, so you need it in a good infrastructural setting,” said Horan.

“If you ever go out the M50, there’s a junction seven and a junction nine but there’s no junction eight.

“Junction eight was meant to be obviously between seven and nine and if you go out there and look on the right hand side, outside the M50, there’s a big land bank in there and some people speculated that you put in junction eight and put in a stadium there on that land bank.

“You won’t be a million miles away from the LUAS line, you’ll have the infrastructure of the motorway and you won’t be bringing everyone straight into the traffic nest that’s in Dublin.”

As part of Leinster’s five-point strategic plan, particular emphasis, with the backing of €1m in central funds, will also be given to hurling development in Offaly, Laois, Carlow and Westmeath.

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