IRISH rugby’s contract with the GAA may be coming to an end, but the spirit of ecumenism lives on.
When the Irish rugby squad found themselves yesterday without a training base, one of the GAA’s most successful clubs came to the rescue.
With PBC Cork’s Wilton base suffering from the early morning frost, Nemo Rangers’ superb base in Trabeg on Cork City’s South Douglas Road came to the rescue with its indoor facilities.
Afterwards Ireland rugby coach Declan Kidney credited Nemo for “coming to the rescue” on behalf of his Six Nations-chasing squad.
“Presentation College have been very good to us over the last few years, making pitches available to us,” said Kidney yesterday. “However, the pitch there was just frozen over this morning, it would have been too risky to put the players out on it.
“With the timeframe that we had, we were due to train at 10am, and Munster had been very good to provide their Academy players for our lads to train with, but with the nature of the injuries that our players have, it just wasn’t prudent to put them out on that pitch this morning.
“You don’t want to wrap fellas in cotton wool either, but we had stuff we wanted to get done. Nemo came to the rescue, however, and we were able to get all the work we had planned done out there.”
The Ireland coach also paid tribute to the GAA for developing top class sports facilities around the country.
“I think there’s huge goodwill there,” said Kidney.
“I’d be forever grateful, and I’d say everybody involved in Irish rugby would be forever grateful, to the GAA for opening up Croke Park.
“There are commercial ventures around the country and if it’s win-win for everybody, why not let it work?
“I think it also shows how the GAA, as an organisation, looked after themselves in the good times. They have some very good investments around the country and they’ve built some great facilities.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be in various sports facilities around the world, and I can safely say that the facilities in this country match up to anything you’ll find in any other country.”
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