Munster Rugby training base call set for October

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

MUNSTER Rugby’s chief executive has said it could be October before any decision is made on where to locate the province’s training base.

MUNSTER Rugby’s chief executive has said it could be October before any decision is made on where to locate the province’s training base.

Garrett Fitzgerald has also indicated to the Limerick Leader that the decision will be made purely “on business grounds” and the tricky decision of whether it will be Cork or Limerick will be solely a financial one.

“We are getting feedback from people on it and we will be picking it up again in the third week in August because of the holiday period,” said Mr Fitzgerald from La Rochelle, where Munster were training last week.

“We have asked for an independent view on it from outside and we will get feedback on it. We will look at what has been said there. It will be October I would say (before any decision is made). We will have to get back the report on it and then there are different levels it has to go through; team management and branch approval, all of those things have to be taken into consideration as well,” he added.

It is now widely known that the University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology and Cork Institute of Technology have all lodged bids to secure Munster’s full-time training headquarters.

As it stands the two time Heineken Cup winners divide their time between UL and CIT, a fact outgoing team manager Shaun Payne referred to as a “complete logistical nightmare”.

While little is known about the proposal put forward by UL, LIT are known to have put forward an “attractive proposal to Munster and the IRFU for hosting a single, state-of-the art training facility for their teams”.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan TD has said that the decision is “obviously one for the Munster branch, but I would like to see it based in Limerick”.

“The combination of Thomond Park and the facilities in the University Arena would seem to me to justify maintaining it in Limerick. But of course I appreciate the difficulties of some players who have to travel long distances,” he said.

Munster chief executive has warned that the decision will not be made immediately and that it will be made on business grounds.

“Even when the decision is made, it could be a two year turnaround after that for whoever is providing the facility. It is not something that is going to happen instantly,” he explained.

“It is a business we are running and it will be a business decision. That is what it has to be - a financial decision. It will not be made on what people want to do, it will just be a business decision and will ultimately have to be ratified by the Munster branch,” he added.