Limerick to remain home of Munster rugby

LIMERICK is to remain the home of Munster rugby after the IRFU Munster Branch last night revealed it is to look at three alternative sites for Thomond Park - but all in the Treaty city.

This quashes speculation that Musgrave Park in Cork could become the new home of Munster rugby.

Local rugby sources speculated last night that the sites being looked at in Limerick include:

* Grounds owned by Young Munster at Derryknockane.

* Grounds owned by UL Bohs at Annacotty.

* Grounds recently purchased by the Munster Branch adjacent to the University of Limerick.

Revamping Thomond Park has not been ruled out.

A company of consulting engineers, ARUP, will conduct a feasibility study to find a suitable site for a 26,000-capacity stadium. The IRFU said ARUP will look at Thomond and three other sites and return with a recommendation in six weeks.

The sites at Derryknockane and Annacotty have adequate acreage for a 26,000 all-seater stadium and are adjacent to the ring road network around the city.

The IRFU wants to double the 13,000 capacity of Thomond, but negotiations to buy out a terrace of 16 houses at the adjacent Knockalisheen Road have failed to progress. It is believed consultants will look at coming up with a revised design for Thomond Park which would not necessitate demolition of the houses.

Residents claim the IRFU is trying to make them a scapegoat for a plan to move out of Thomond Park and say the €200,000 offer for houses was not enough to buy replacement homes.

The co-president of UL Bohemians, which plays its home games at Thomond Park, Professor Roger Downer, said the crowd capacity in Munster’s home ground has to be expanded.

“Whether this can be done on the Thomond Park site, I don’t know. But if it cannot be done, I would prefer to find a new site, where we can build a stadium to do justice to Munster rugby and the people of Munster.”

He said such a new stadium should be located in Limerick. “Limerick is the spirit of rugby, the home of rugby and it should be a Limerick stadium.”

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