Connacht Rugby The Sportsground Phase 2 rejig


Connacht Rugby next phase of stadium redevelopment Image: Connacht Rugby

Connacht Rugby has confirmed it is taking the next steps in the historic redevelopment of The Sportsground in Galway, Ireland, with the commencement of a Public Procurement Process for Phase 2.

‘HUGE RUGBY’ stated that Phase 2 includes the construction of a High-Performance Centre and a new North Stand with the procurement process taking approximately six months, prior to the commencement of a two-year construction program in 2023.

Connacht Rugby is one of the four professional provincial rugby teams from the island of Ireland. Connacht competes in the United Rugby Championship and the European Rugby Champions Cup.

The 8,129-capacity Sportsground, also known as The Galway Sportsgrounds and the Galway Greyhound Stadium and the Connacht Rugby Stadium, is a multipurpose stadium in Galway, Ireland. It opened in 1927, with the playing of a football match and has been used to host Connacht Rugby matches and greyhound racing since that time.

Dublin (Ireland)-based the United Rugby Championship is an annual rugby union competition involving professional teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales. The current name was adopted in 2021 when the league expanded to include four South African teams previously from the South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby (SANZAR) Super Rugby competition.

The European Rugby Champions Cup is an annual rugby union tournament organized by the European Professional Club Rugby. It is the top-tier competition for clubs who compete in a predominantly European league.

‘HUGE RUGBY’ further stated that construction will begin with the build of the new High-Performance Centre consisting of a new indoor training pitch as well as state-of-the-art athlete and staff facilities.

Upon completion, work will then immediately begin on the new North Stand. This Stand will replace the existing Clan Terrace and will consist of a mixture of standing, seated and hospitality options with top-class facilities for players, supporters, partners, and media. The North Stand will have a capacity of over 7,000 supporters and is currently scheduled to be completed in time for the 2025-2026 seasons.

The redevelopment of The Sportsground began in May 2022 with Phase 1 consisting of a new synthetic playing surface and LED floodlighting system. The pitch was completed on-schedule in September with the new floodlights to be installed next month.

The redevelopment is supported by the Department of Tourism Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, and Sport and Media’s Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF). The LSSIF is designed to support projects where the grant sought is greater than the maximum available under the Department’s Sports Capital and Equipment Programme. The first allocations under the LSSIF were announced in January 2020 and included funding towards The Sportsground redevelopment.

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D., stated, “I want to congratulate everybody involved in bringing the project to this stage. Your vision and commitment will ensure that Connacht Rugby has a new home that everybody concerned will be justifiably proud of.”

The Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport, Jack Chambers T.D., added, “This is another important step in the delivery of what will be a superb new facility in Galway. My Department will continue to work closely with Connacht Rugby to ensure the passionate Connacht fans have this excellent new stadium open for business as quickly as possible.”

The head honcho of Connacht Rugby, Willie Ruane, stated, “This week’s commencement of the Public Procurement Process for Phase 2 continues the positive momentum of The Sportsground redevelopment project. We have already seen the positive impact Phase 1 has had on our players’ and fans’ experience of The Sportsground and we are excited about what Phase 2 will further deliver in this regard over the coming years. On behalf of everyone associated with Connacht Rugby, I would like to once again take this opportunity to thank the Government for their very significant support of this project, without which none of this would be possible.”

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