Munster Rugby say grant 'essential' for development at match venue

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Munster Rugby say grant 'essential' for development at match venue

Planning permission has been granted for the construction of an indoor training facility at Musgrave Park

MUNSTER Rugby insist that government grant assistance is 'essential' in order to facilitate development work at Musgrave Park in Cork.

As a result, Munster say they are eagerly awaiting next month’s grant announcement of the Government’s Large-Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF).

Planning permission was granted by Cork City Council last summer for the construction of an indoor training facility at Musgrave Park with Munster Rugby awaiting funding before commencing work on the facility in early 2020.

Munster say that the facilities are at the centre of their strategy for growing the game in the province and engaging with the local community and will complete phase three of Musgrave Park’s development.

Two major redevelopments have taken place at the venue over the past five years.

A €3.2million investment by Munster Rugby saw major redevelopment work take place four years ago with the construction of a new 3,500-seater West Stand while the East Terrace was also covered with the stadium capacity set at 8,008.

Last year, a new modified 3G pitch surface was laid by Tralee-based company PST Sport. The state-of-the-art pitch has allowed for a significant increase in games played across a number of sports and disciplines at the venue.

Along with a significant increase in the number of grassroots rugby games played on the pitch, a diverse range of activities are also taking place in the multi-purpose venue, from frisbee tournaments to weekly yoga classes.

The planned new facility will be built primarily for Munster Rugby’s underage sides and the surrounding community with local clubs, schools and community groups set to benefit.

A synthetic all-weather playing surface, a gymnasium, dressing rooms, treatment rooms, a kitchen and public toilets has been approved for construction at the Pearse Road end of the stadium.

The all-weather playing surface will be 60 by 40 metres and the gymnasium will be 2,000 square feet. The plans also include a new single-storey ticketing booth and increased parking for both cars and buses.

Munster say the economic benefit of Musgrave Park for the surrounding area has grown exponentially in recent years. The newly-installed pitch has paved the way for the stadium to become one of the country’s top music venues with six concerts taking place at Musgrave Park last summer. Over 65,000 people attended the events with more concerts planned for next summer.

Speaking after planning permission had been granted, Philip Quinn said: “The new facility will be available to local schools, clubs and community groups as necessary.

“The installation of our new modified 3G pitch has been a fantastic success and this is the next step for us.

“We want to engage with our local community and our 3G pitch has hosted all sorts of events in a number of different sports, not just rugby, since it opened last year.

“Long-term, we see Irish Independent Park as being a municipal stadium, open to all. Rugby will always be number one here but let’s engage, let’s get people in here to what is a fantastic sporting facility.”

All four of Munster’s Guinness PRO14 games in Cork sold out for the first time last season and the Ireland U20s played both of their home 6 Nations games at Musgrave Park.

It was recently announced that Irish Independent Park will again host the Ireland U20s for the 2020 6 Nations with fixtures against Scotland, Wales and Italy.

Munster resume their Guinness PRO14 programme of fixtures this Friday night with a home game against the Ospreys at Musgrave Park, 7.35pm.