LIMERICK chairman, Liam Lenihan, has described confirmation that the Gaelic Grounds will host the first test of the International Rules series on October 23 as ‘great news’.
The series was placed on the back burner last year after the GAA acceded to a request from the AFL to defer it due to the global economic downturn.
However GAA chiefs yesterday announced the series will resume later this year with the second test set for Croke Park on October 30.
Last year’s development came as a major letdown to the Limerick county board in particular but the Shannonside association can now look forward to a massive boost of its own coffers, while the knock-on effect to the local economy will also be significant.
“It’s obviously great news in Limerick for the GAA and Limerick in general,” he said after yesterday’s announcement by the GAA, which came just a couple of hours after the news broke in Australia.
“For the people in the city, the business people and those on the outskirts of the city; for the entire county. It is great news for everybody.
“We were disappointed last year but fair dues to the uachtarán Christy Cooney, he said it would happen in 2010 and I believed him, although there were some out there who were sceptical.
“It will be a great occasion and you’ll have up to 50,000 people at the match. There is a huge appetite for football in Limerick. Our county team is going extremely well and expect to come out of Division 4, while no disrespect to the other counties, they would hope to get to a Munster final as well. So we will get a full house.”
It will also give the board a rare opportunity to showcase the Gaelic Grounds and Lenihan is excited by that prospected.
“Len Gaynor said he had been going there 40 years and he had never seen the Gaelic Grounds looking as well as it does now. There’s huge work goes into it and great credit must go to the entire team down there, but especially Michael J O’Shea, our technical supervisor, Nicky Green, who’s the man on the ground, and our long-standing grounds man, Willie Mulcahy.”
Since competition between Ireland and Australia resumed in 1999, the two countries have played 10 series with both teams winning five apiece. Ireland holds a 10-8 advantage, with two draws, from the 20 Test matches played.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper James Dempsey will make his League debut for Offaly against Cork in the Allianz NHL on Sunday. Birr goalkeeper Brian Mullins has returned to training and is listed among the substitutes. Midfielder Brendan Murphy is suffering with a back injury and is expected to be out for a number of weeks.
WATERFORD (SF v Carlow): T Wall; J Walsh, T O’Gorman, C Phelan; T Grey, S Briggs, M O’Gorman; M Ahearne, E Walsh; M Donnelly, C McGrath, B Wall; W Hennessy R Ahearne T Prendergast.
OFFALY (SH v Cork): J Dempsey; J Rigney, P Cleary, D Kenny; D Horan, G Oakley, D Morkan; D Hayden, R Hanniffy; B Carroll, J Bergin, C Mahon; C Parlon, G Healion, S Dooley.
LEITRIM (SF v Kilkenny): E Lyons; D Reynolds, J McKeon, D Beck; J Glancy (St Mary’s), G Reynolds, S Foley; T Beirne, D O’Connor; P McGuinness, M Foley, C Regan; E Mulligan, J Glancy (Glencar/Manor), D Gilhooley.
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