Ireland have almost full squad for England Match


Scrum-half, Eoin Reddan is the only injury worry for Declan Kidney’s Ireland ahead of next Saturday’s clash with England at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Reddan played less than a minute of the 6 point defeat to Wales in Cardiff last Saturday after getting a blow to the face from the ball as he cblocked down a clearance kick from Lee Byrne of Wales.

Reddan suffered concussion as a result of the blow and was replaced immediately by Peter Stringer. Reddan is being monitoried by the Irish medical team his week and will see a neurologist as part of the injury management process.

The starting line-up for the final game of the Six Nations will be named by Declan Kidney tomorrow afternoon and Reddan is still officially in contention for a place.

The game takes on a special role as, although an Irish Triple Crown is now out of reach, Ireland have the motivation to deny England their first Grand Slam since they were victorious at the same venue (albeit the old stadium) 8 years ago.

Dublin hotels are almost sold out for weeks in advance of the game, however the historic nature of the occasion for England has seen a surge of enquiries to hotels near the aviva stadium in recent days, particularly from English fans.

While hotels nearby are almost certainly full, don’t rule out the option of staying in a hotel on the periphery, particularly a hotel near a tram stop like Moran’s Red Cow hotel.

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International rugby debut at the Aviva Stadium


Rugby Union makes its international debut at the revamped lansdowne road, The Aviva Stadium, today when Ireland take on world champions South Africa.
Despite the IRFU this week admitting that they have priced fans out of this year’s autumn internationals, there is a great atmosphere expected as international rugby returns to its Dublin 4 home.

South Africa have several big names missing for today’s clash, but Declan Kidney is taking nothing for granted; “They have changes in their team, but when you look at the rugby population they have, who’s to know if the guys who have come over might not be the ones who end up holding down a place?” warned the Corkman, “Every tour throws up something and I’m sure this one will throw up combinations for South Africa that might make them even stronger.”

Whatever the outcome of the game, the resumption of games in Lansdowne Road is a welcome boost to hotels near the aviva stadium who have seen the centre of gravity of Rugby weekends migrate towards Dublin city centre and northside over the last four years.

Aviva Stadium launch to Cost €600m per year


The move back to the Aviva Stadium by Rugby and Soccer has been predicted to cost the local Dublin economy millions of euro due to the smaller capacity at the new Lansdowne Road stadium. The prediction was made recently by GAA president Christy Cooney speaking at the publication of the GAA and Croke Park Stadium’s annual accounts.

Cooney estimated that the hosting of games and concerts at their own flagship venue was worth half a billion euro to the city last year. Stadium director Peter McKenna estimated the figure could be as high as €600m while both claimed that the net worth to the area per game at Croker stood between €30m and €35m.

The size of the new venue in Dublin 4 has already caused some disquiet, as has the fact that both governing bodies, the IRFU and the FAI, are locked in to deals which prevent them from playing home ties anywhere else for the next 10 years.

That means that for a full decade the bigger games, such as the Ireland-England Six Nations clash and major soccer qualifiers cannot be switched to the 60% larger Croke Park nomatter what the demand levels are.

This will see thousands of disappointed fans missing out on attending their favourite events and will see the 2 sports associations at teh Aviva Stadium missing out on almost 2-million in ticket sales over the 10 years amounting to losses of up to €100million at today’s average ticket prices.

IRFU increase rugby ticket prices dramatically for Croke Park


According to this morning’s Irish Times, the IRFU have increased the price of a ticket by 18.75% versus the last time we played France and England at Croke Park.

Obviously the tooth fairy is still alive and well at Rugby headquarters. EDIT: sorry I meant the celtic tiger  is still alive and well at Rugby headquarters.

The Irish Times points out that the most expensive ticket, outside the premium and corporate levels, for next Saturday’s Six Nations clash with France is €95, an 18.75 per cent increase for the same seat (€80) two years ago when the Ireland rugby team played their first international at GAA headquarters, coincidentally against the French.

The decision taken by the IRFU is in marked contrast to the policy adopted by the FAI and GAA. Peter Sherrard, the FAI’s director of communications explained: “We have given an undertaking to maintain our current price levels until at least 2012 in recognition of the current economic climate and as a thank you for the loyalty of the fans.”

GAA spokesman Fergal McGill pointed out: “Our attitude is the same as everyone else’s really in that we are taking into account the economic realities. Out last price increase was in 2007 and we have no plans to increase prices this year.”

The comparison of ticket prices between the three national sporting bodies doesn’t take into account the fact the IRFU must completely fund professional and amateur rugby alike. They pay the salaries of the professional players while also underpinning the club, youth and schools sections.

The IRFU’s commercial and marketing director, Padraig Power, pointed out: “The vast majority of tickets we have sold for the home Six Nations matches were purchased as part of packages. Ireland’s games against New Zealand and France were paired as were those of Argentina and England. If supporters bought one or both of those packages then the cost of a stand ticket works out at €85.

Read the full article here

Six Nations Fixtures 2009 – European Rugby


Well, a new year is upon us and the 6-nations Rugby season is fast approaching.

Every year I struggle to remember who is playing who ….and when! My lack of attention even meant I got married on the day that Ireland beat England at Twickenham in 2006 to win the Triple Crown, now no self respecting Irish Rugby fan would deliberatley plan that, would he?

Since then I’ve taken note of all the 6 nations fixtures very early so that if I’m planning anything, I’ll be aware of any clashes.
For anyone with a similar disposition, here is the full 2009 fixtures list: Continue reading