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Croke Park venue not right choice

It is commendable of Michael Mernagh to suggest Croke Park as the venue to host the 2013 Heineken Cup Final.

However, this will not happen as Aviva paid in the region of €44m towards the €410m re-development cost of the Lansdowne Road stadium and, consequently, the IRFU has to fulfil its obligations to host the 2013 Heineken Cup Final in the Aviva Stadium.

There is no doubt that Croke Park would be filled to capacity if Leinster or Munster reached next year’s final. However, if non-Irish clubs contested the final, the big question is how many fans would travel?

The Heineken Cup Final was last held in Ireland in 2003, when Toulouse beat Perpignan 22-17 in Lansdowne Road with an attendance of only 28,600. Contrast that attendance to the 2008 Heineken Final in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff when Munster beat Biarritz 23-19. A Cardiff tourist official described the Munster following as the largest Irish invasion of Britain since the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Munster fans have made the Heineken Cup the great competition it is today. Let’s hope that Rob Penney will bring further glory to our province.

Michael O’Connell

Mansfield House

Passage West

Co Cork


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