Hotels near the Aviva stadium in Dublin got a welcome boost today with the announcement by the ERC that the European Rugby Cup Final (Currently known as the Heineken Cup) will take place at the Dublin venue in 2013.
It will be tenth anniversary of the first and only time that the Heineken Cup final was played at the old Lansdowne Road stadium, the site of the current Aviva Stadium.
In a statement announcing the decision, ERC chief executive Derek McGrath said “The Aviva Stadium is a world-class venue which has quickly established a close affinity with the Heineken Cup having staged three matches last season”…..”Ireland has provided four Heineken Cup champions in the past six seasons and Irish rugby is steeped in the history of the tournament since it began 16 years ago.”
Unfortunately the final in 2003 was very poorly attended due to the finalists both being from France. Wouldn’t it be a great if Munster and Leinster were to battle it out in 2013?
Lansdowne road’s new Aviva Stadium remains in contention to host the Heineken Cup final 2011 on May 21st 2011 despite the UEFA Europa League final taking place at the stadium just three days beforehand.
Martin Murphy, Aviva stadium director has confirmed the stadium can be flipped and rebranded between sporting events within 24 hours.
It is thought that the stadium had originally considered bidding for the Heineken Cup 2010 final however it was too close to the scheduled completion of construction.
The ERC won’t be making a decision on what venue will host the 2011 final until the week of this year’s decider in Paris. The 16th Heineken Cup season begins on the second weekend of October, and climaxes with the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals on the weekend of May 20th-22nd.
The ERC announced yesterday that the pool stages will again be played in three back-to-back blocks in October, December and January.
As the chance of a historic treble for 14 Munster Rugby players gets closer, yesterday saw the emergence of a possible 2009Quadruple for 8 of them.
For Paul O’Connell and 7 of his Munster team mates, there is an opportunity to take home 4 major honours this year;
Having already won the 6-Nations Grand Slam with Ireland, they are hot favourites for the Magners League and have taken a step closer to retaining the Heineken Cup.
If they overcome Leinster in the semifinal of that competition and go on to win the Final on May 23rd, 8 of the team depart for the Lions Tour of South Africa the next day already having achieved a historic Treble.
Then comes the chance to cap it off by winning the Lions Tour test series against the Springboks….What a year it would be!
Following the historic success of Ireland in the 6 nations last weekend, the vision in Munster Rugby circles has switched to dreams of a Treble for so many of the Munster players.
This is not to disrespect in any way whatsoever the achievement of Ireland and the contribution of non-Munster players. In fact it was a source of great pride to see the national team play as one again and dispelling talk of internal cliques.
The reality is, however, that for 11 Munster players who played for Ireland during the 2009 6 nations championship there is an opportunity to complete an unprecedented treble this year.
1. The Grand-Slam has already been done with Ireland
2. They are leading the Magners League
3. They have qualified for the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup and are currently 7-4 favourites to retain it with PaddyPower
Retaining the Heineken Cup will not be easy and they have some difficult games ahead of them but they never had it easy either in 2006 or 2008 when they emerged victorious. Now that the stereotype of the Irish good loser has been blown away for ever, the sky is the limit!