The Government has today announced a total of €20m to Connacht Rugby’s Sportsground redevelopment project. The €10m allocated under the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure (LSSIF) has been matched with a further €10m commitment, as announced by Government Chief Whip Sean Kyne T.D.
 
In his announcement, Mr Kyne confirmed that the additional investment has been secured due to “the economic significance of the Sportsground redevelopment to the wider West of Ireland region. The investment is fully aligned with Project 2040, the National Development Plan and the Government’s commitment to balanced regional development”.
 
Commenting on the historic investment, Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane said: “There is huge excitement in Connacht Rugby and throughout the province, at the announcement that €20m in state funding is being allocated to the redevelopment of the Sportsground. I want to fully acknowledge the very significant support we have received from An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Mr Varadkar personally visited the Sportsground last year to receive a briefing on our plans and the strategic importance of the project to the wider regional economy. I would also like to express our sincere gratitude to Government Chief Whip Sean Kyne for the support he has shown throughout the project and in ultimately delivering the additional funding to make this project a reality”.
 
Connacht Rugby’s successful application for funding under the LSSIF received unanimous political support from members of all political parties including Minister Michael Ring, Hildergarde Naughton and Independent TD Noel Grealish.
 
Commenting on the LSSIF application process, Willie Ruane added: “We have always said that our vision is to ensure that the province has a fit for purpose stadium and training centre which future generations of sports stars, supporters and all the people of the West of Ireland can be immensely proud of. These facilities will also be available to the Special Olympics and the Community Games members, who gave priority status in support of our application. The allocation of state funding is critical to the Sportsground’s redevelopment and today’s announcement means that we can now immediately move forward with complete certainty towards delivering this transformational project”.
 
The phased project will cost €30m to complete in full and full planning permission was granted for the redevelopment in May 2019.
 

Connacht Rugby have announced that they will be installing additional temporary terracing in the Sportsground to meet the ticket demand for the interprovincial clash with Leinster on Friday night.
 
The additional terracing allows an increased capacity, beyond the 6,229 crowd that can be facilitated under normal circumstances.
 
The increase in capacity comes after Connacht Rugby achieved a record ticketing performance last season and were granted planning permission for a €30m redevelopment of the Sportsground. The redevelopment will include an increase in capacity to 12,000 spectators and the development of a high performance training centre on site.
 
Making the announcement, Head of Commercial and Marketing at Connacht Rugby, Brian Mahony said: “There has been a huge demand for tickets for our game against Leinster on Friday night and based off this demand we will be increasing our capacity with additional temporary terracing. The terracing will be installed at both ends of the ground and facilitate the large crowds expected for the first interpro of the season”.
 
Commenting on the general increase in ticket demand, he added: “Last season delivered a record ticketing performance for Connacht Rugby and we are seeing positive signs already this season. We have surpassed our targets for season ticket sales which are now sold out. We are now seeing greater demand for individual match tickets and we expect that we will have to extend our capacity again throughout the season. With our first home game in the Champions Cup against Montpellier coming up next weekend, our message to supporters is to buy tickets early as we cannot guarantee availability in the week leading up to games”.
 
FIND YOUR MATCH TICKETS HERE

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. was the special guest in the Sportsground on Friday as Connacht Rugby announced that its redevelopment on College Road is now “shovel ready” with full planning permission secured.
 
The initial redevelopment plans were launched following an arrangement reached between the Irish Greyhound Board and the freehold owners of the Sportsground, the Galway Agricultural and Sports Society, with respect to a shared vision for the future of the Sportsground.
 
During his visit, Mr Varadkar was introduced to the professional playing squad who were hosting a community visit for 200 children from Scoil Chaitríona NS, Renmore. He was also briefed in detail on the progress of the Sportsground redevelopment which involves licence agreements with Special Olympics Ireland and the Community Games for use of the upgraded facilities.
 
The €30m project will include a full redevelopment of the stadium as well as a multi-use indoor High Performance Training Centre. With €10m in private funding approved through a mixture of Connacht Rugby funds and an approved bank credit facility, the state investment of €20m is now critical to the delivery of the project. The project has been the subject of an independent economic appraisal by economist Dr Kevin Hannigan of KHSK Economic Consultants who found through a cost benefit analysis that the project will yield a net benefit of 53%.
 
The strategic benefits of the project to the entire region are also closely aligned with the Government’s National Planning Framework, Project Ireland 2040 as well as the National Sports Policy, all of which highlight the need for a regional spread of capital investment throughout the country. It also fulfils the need for improved sports infrastructure in the region, identified in the Galway City Development Plan.
 
Welcoming An Taoiseach to the Sportsground, CEO of Connacht Rugby, Willie Ruane commented: “We are delighted to have An Taoiseach in the Sportsground to receive an update on our redevelopment project. There has been huge momentum behind the project since we announced last October, and we now have the final granting of planning permission. With 130 people employed throughout the province by Connacht Rugby we are extremely proud of the annual contribution of €34.4m we are making to the regional economy. We have €10m in private funding to bring to the table through a mixture of Connacht Rugby funds and an approved bank credit facility. The project is now shovel ready and the remaining €20m state investment is critical to its delivery”.
 
As part of Connacht Rugby’s announcement of planning permission for the Sportsground development their new video “HOME’ was also launched by An Taoiseach on his visit. The short film was produced by Award-Winning film maker Lorcan Hynes from Foxford, County Mayo and shot in various locations around the province over the past few months. The film highlights the people and the diverse nature of the landscape of the West of Ireland.
 
Commenting on the video which was launched by An Taoiseach today, Willie Ruane added: “The concept of the film is based on Connacht Rugby’s purpose which goes beyond the role of rugby and represents everything that is good about the province of Connacht. The video coincides with our journey to build a new home at the Sportsground, but our home and our purpose extends far beyond that to every corner of the province”.
 

Connacht Rugby can confirm that after phenomenal demand, Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Munster at The Sportsground has now completely SOLD OUT.
 
Additional terraces were installed at the Bohermore and College Road ends to cater for the huge interest in tickets, increasing the total capacity to 8,129.
 
Tickets are still available for Saturday week’s European Challenge Cup pool game with Sale Sharks and can be purchased HERE.

Connacht Rugby have announced that additional temporary terracing is to be installed in the Sportsground to meet the high level of ticket demand for the interprovincial clashes against Ulster and Munster over the Christmas and New Year period.
 
Connacht take on Ulster on Friday December 28th at 7:35pm and Munster on Saturday 5th January, also kicking off at 7:35pm.
 
The additional terracing can increase the total capacity in excess of 8,000 spectators.
 
Making the announcement, Communications Manager for Connacht Rugby, Brendan Loughnane said: “There is always a high demand for tickets for the interprovincial games and another surge for the Christmas fixtures so when the two events coincide we need to increase capacity to meet that demand. With Clan Stand and Main Stand Tickets already sold out for both fixtures, we are installing additional terracing at the College Road and Bohermore Ends. Tickets for the additional terracing are available to purchase immediately through connachtrugby.ie/tickets so we advise people to purchase early to secure tickets. This season we also have a special offering for a three match pack which is proving extremely popular as a Christmas gift.
 
The announcement of the additional terracing comes a day after Connacht Rugby confirmed they have formally submitted a planning application to Galway City Council for the redevelopment of the Sportsground. The redevelopment will involve a €30m investment in a 12,000 capacity Stadium and High performance Training Centre.
 

 

Connacht Rugby have formally submitted a planning application to Galway City Council for the redevelopment of the Sportsground Stadium.
 
The planning application comes after a detailed design process and extensive public consultation carried out in conjunction with technical advisers, TOBIN Consulting Engineers and Chapman Architects.
 
The public consultation has included a stadium composition survey, briefings to elected officials, establishment of designated email address to deal directly with submissions, individual and group meetings with residents, a public engagement session held in the Connacht Hotel in October and an extensive media campaign.
 
The submission coincides with the official launch of the Government’s Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund which opened last week. The Sportsground redevelopment will cost in the region of €30m and the allocation of public funds is an essential component to the delivery of the project.
 
Commenting on the progress of the project, CEO of Connacht Rugby Willie Ruane said: “Following the design phase and extensive engagement and consultation with the public we have now formally submitted our planning application to Galway City Council for the redevelopment of the Sportsground. Since the public announcement of the project in early October we have received widespread support from the public and elected representatives for the development of the stadium and delivery of a high performance training centre. Our public consultation has also allowed us to really engage with local residents and address issues or observations that they raised”.
 
Welcoming the official launch of the Government’s Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund he added: “We welcome the launch of the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund, which the Government announced over the past few weeks. We have already presented an outline of the project to members of the Oireachtas including the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who has been supportive of the development and of its strategic benefits to the entire region. The scheme outline sets out the need for regional distribution of the fund along with the need to develop multi use facilities, making the Sportsground an ideal location for development. Our formal submission for public funding will be made in line with the application criteria.”.
 

Connacht Rugby, in conjunction with technical advisers, TOBIN Consulting Engineers and Chapman Architects, are launching a public consultation process as part of the Sportsground redevelopment project.

 

The consultation will include an open day in the Connacht Hotel on Tuesday 23rd of October to run from 3pm to 9pm, where all members of the public are welcome to attend.

 

During the consultation, drawings and images will be on display and representatives involved in the project from Connacht Rugby, TOBIN Engineers and Chapman Architects will be available to receive submissions and feedback and answer questions on the project.

 

Announcing the consultation process, Willie Ruane, Chief Executive said: “We have received an overwhelmingly positive response to our redevelopment plans since we made the public announcement. We have already received a large number of emails with observations and offers of support. We are now planning a public session to provide an opportunity for local residents and the wider community to get to view the plans and provide feedback. This public session will take place in the Connacht Hotel on Tuesday the 23rd of October. We are looking forward to displaying the plans and making people available to explain aspects of the design in more detail at that event. The session will run from 3pm to 9pm so people can feel free to call in at any stage during that window.”

 

Commenting on the development plans Ciarán McGovern of TOBIN Consulting Engineers said: “The Sportsground has been the home of Connacht Rugby since 1927 and we are really excited to be involved in the redevelopment of the venue. The delivery of this 12,000 capacity stadium and high performance centre is of huge strategic importance not just to Connacht Rugby but also to the entire West of Ireland.”

 

Connacht Rugby looks forward to the public engagement process in the coming weeks and welcomes the input of local residents and the general public on the project.

 

For those unavailable to attend the public session on October 23rd, submissions and feedback can also be submitted via email to [email protected]

 

Local residents who wish to make verbal submissions, have any questions or require more information can contact a member of the project team on 091 561568.

Connacht Rugby are delighted to announce historic redevelopment plans for the Sportsground Stadium.

 

The project will deliver a modern, fit for purpose rugby stadium in addition to a new high-performance training centre for Connacht Rugby while also retaining existing greyhound racing facilities.

 

The redevelopment plan has been made possible following an arrangement reached between the Irish Greyhound Board and the freehold owners of the Sportsground, the Galway Agricultural and Sports Society, with respect to a shared vision for the future of the Sportsground.

 

The announcement comes on the back of a rigorous process to identify the optimum location, composition and design of the proposed new redevelopment in addition to an independent cost benefit analysis.

 

The development will cost in the region of €30m and will have a capacity of 12,000 spectators. It is intended that the development will be funded through a combination of public funds, most notably through the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund, and private funding.

 

The arrangement with the Irish Greyhound Board will ensure that rugby fixtures and greyhound racing events will continue to be staged at the venue. The multi-use facility will also be made available for the hosting of other sporting fixtures and events where such demand arises.

 

The strategic benefits of the project to the entire region are also closely aligned with the Government’s National Planning Framework, Project Ireland 2040 as well as the recently launched National Sports Policy, all of which highlight the need for a regional spread of capital investment throughout the country.

 

 

Making the announcement, CEO of Connacht Rugby, Willie Ruane said: “A key pillar of the vision for Connacht Rugby, Grassroots to Green Shirts, is to deliver facilities that match our ambition. The arrangement we have reached with the IGB, paves the way for the delivery of modern fit for purpose facilities to sustain the Sportsground as the home of club and professional rugby in the province. The plans for the stadium redevelopment also include a high-performance training centre to provide both our existing professional players as well as our emerging talent access to appropriate facilities to enable them to fulfil their potential and go on to perform at the highest level.

We have already been in contact with local residents on our plans and will be hosting a full public consultation in the coming weeks. In tandem with the planning process we will be submitting an application under the Government’s Large-Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund. Independent economic research carried out in 2016, found that Connacht Rugby contributes €34.4 million to the regional economy. The delivery of this project will increase that contribution and provide a beacon for regional development in the West of Ireland. Our vision is to ensure that the province has a stadium which future generations of sports stars, supporters and all the people of the West of Ireland can be immensely proud of.”

 

Commenting on the announcement, CEO of the Irish Greyhound Board, Ger Dollard said: “The proposed development by Connacht Rugby will deliver state of the art facilities in the Sportsground which will greatly enhance the experience of our customers and also benefit dog owners and breeders. The schedule of greyhound racing activity will be maintained within the new development. The ambition of the IGB continues to be the delivery of a commercially viable, well-regulated greyhound and breeding industry as well as a customer-centred, exciting and value-led entertainment experience. The proposed development by Connacht Rugby will make a significant contribution to that overall objective.”

 

Endorsing the development plans, Anthony Ryan President of the Galway Agricultural and Sports Society added: “The Galway Agricultural and Sports Society is an organisation entrusted with the responsibility of making the Sportsground facilities available to sporting organisations on a long-term basis. The arrangement between Connacht Rugby and the IGB, allows for the delivery of improved facilities for both organisations. The policy of making the facility available to a range of sporting bodies and community groups is perfectly aligned with our core purpose. We welcome the spirit of co-operation between the organisations which enables the project to proceed.”

 

The IRFU are also fully supportive of the redevelopment plans. Commenting on the announcement, CEO of the IRFU Phillip Browne said: “The Sportsground has been the home of rugby in Connacht since 1927 and it is fitting that as the team develops the ground does too. The province has made huge progress on and off the field, and the development of these facilities will sustain Connacht Rugby into the future. A high-performance training centre and a modern stadium are important for the future of rugby in the West of Ireland and the IRFU is fully supportive of, and looks forward to, the development of this exciting project.”

 

Click here to download video footage of the existing Sportsground stadium.

 

Background to the project

 

  • One of the key pillars of the Connacht Rugby vision Grassroots to Green Shirts is to deliver “facilities that match our ambition”.

 

  • It was based off this pillar that aStrategic Facilities Working Group was established to deliver on Connacht Rugby’s long-term needs regarding fit for purpose playing and training facilities.

 

  • The initial work of this group involved identifying sites in the greater Galway City area that could potentially act as a suitable home for a fit for purpose stadium.

 

  • As part of the shortlisting process drawings were prepared for three separate sites. After a detailed process the Sportsground has now emerged as the most suitable option for development.

 

  • An investment in the region of €30m will be required for delivery of the entire project.

 

  • The schedule of greyhound racing activity will be maintained within the new development.

 

  • The issue of alternative uses of the facilities at the Sportsground is also a key element of the project. This development will provide a benefit to the entire region and facilities will be available for use by other sporting bodies where such demand arises.


Socio economic impact of Connacht Rugby

  • A study carried out in 2016 by KHSK economic consultants found that Connacht Rugby makes an annual contribution of €34.4m to the regional economy.

 

  • This total includes direct economic spend, the social value provided through volunteer activity and participation and the economic multiplier effect of all this activity.

 

  • Over 130 people are employed in the Sportsground through Connacht Rugby. This total includes professional and academy players along with non-playing staff, making it a significant employer in the local economy.

 

  • One of the key conclusions of the KHSK report is that the delivery of an improved, fit for purpose home for Connacht Rugby will lead to a further increase in economic activity considering the strategic location of the Sportsground to the entire region.

 

  • The report describes how a modern fit for purpose stadium has the capability to act as a beacon for regional development and a driver for economic growth to the region.

 

  • The report also stressed the critical role that public funding will play in the proposed development.

 

Stadium composition

 

  • Connacht Rugby commissioned an expert group to carry out a Stadium Composition Study and produce a detailed final report which provided a brief for the look and feel of the proposed development.

 

  • The survey targeted two key stakeholder groups namely the general public and the local business community.

 

  • The public survey was conducted online and had an extremely strong completion rate of 4,389 people, a positive indicator on its own.

 

  • In terms of the layout of the new development, it found that the preference of most spectators is to watch games from the sides of the pitch, in covered stands with a mixture of seating and terracing.

 

  • The business survey found a strong demand for corporate and business facilities on a new development and potential alternative uses of a stadium.

 

  • The the capacity will be in the region of 12,000 spectators.

 

  • One of the most significant aspect of the stadium composition will be the development of a state-of-the-art high-performance training centre on site. This will ensure co-location of Connacht Rugby’s training facilities and home stadium.

 

Project Funding

 

  • A funding model has been prepared as part of the plans which concludes that the total cost of the project will be in the region of €30m.

 

  • It is intended that the development will be funded through a combination of public funds, most notably through the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund, and private funding.

 

  • While applications have not yet opened for the fund, Connacht Rugby’s redevelopment plans have already received strong cross party-political support. Minister Brendan Griffin has already visited the Sportsground to be briefed first hand on the project.

 

Alternative uses of facilities

 

  • The Sportsground redevelopment will be a multi-use facility that will incorporate a high-performance training centre, fit for purpose rugby stadium, while maintaining greyhound racing facilities.

 

  • The training and playing facilities will be available on a routine basis for the hosting of professional and amateur club rugby fixtures.

 

  • The facilities will also be made available to other sporting bodies and community groups where such demand arises. The hosting of rugby and greyhound fixtures will obviously be prioritised in this regard.

 

  • Connacht Rugby is extremely conscious of the fact that a facility being supported by public funds will need to be of benefit to the entire community. Historically, the Sportsground has played host to a range of different sports. It is Connacht Rugby’s vision that this tradition will continue into the future.

 

At Connacht Rugby, we pride ourselves in ensuring everyone who attends a Connacht Rugby game has a day to remember. We are seeking enthusiastic, fun and charismatic individuals to deliver an excellent matchday experience to our fans. The goal is to ensure that our organisation is always staffed with the best and most reliable individuals, and that they are correctly utilised for the fulfilment of our mission.

Role Description:

  • Ensuring the safety and security of all customers on matchday
  • Adhere to all emergency and evacuation plans as directed by the Chief Steward and Event Control
  • Offer assistance to our customers when required (location of seat, toilets, vendors)
  • Crowd control with fellow stewards to ensure all customers can attend a game in a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Assist at the main gates in ticket scanning
  • Safety conscious at all times
  • Customer focus is a must

If you feel you have what it takes to become a Matchday Volunteer, we would love to hear from you.

Please express your interest to [email protected] by telling us why you would like to join our team of volunteers and what you can bring to the role. To be considered for this role you must be available to attend one of our training dates, which will be announced shortly.

“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.”

We look forward to hearing from you!

We are seeking volunteer stewards for matchdays at the Sportsground for the upcoming season.

At Connacht Rugby, we pride ourselves in ensuring everyone who attends the Sportsground has an enjoyable and memorable experience and on matchdays we entertain thousands of supporters.

We are recruiting volunteers who would like to be part of this experience. Our volunteers will help with the general running of matchday and will ensure all of our supporters are guided, assisted, helped in an easygoing, professional manner. Guaranteeing all supporters receive the information and guidance they require.

We are seeking enthusiastic, customer focused, fun and charismatic individuals. The individual would need experience in working in a fast-paced environment and used to using their own initiative.

The aim is to ensure that Connacht Rugby has an abundance of skilled and reliable volunteers.

Role Description:

  • Ensuring the safety and security of all customers on matchday
  • Adhere to all emergency and evacuation plans as directed by the Chief Steward and Event Control
  • Offer assistance to our customers when required (location of seat, toilets, vendors)
  • Crowd control with fellow stewards to ensure all customers can attend a game in a safe and comfortable environment
  • Assist at the main gates in ticket scanning
  • Safety conscious at all times
  • Customer focus is a must

If you are interested in becoming a steward, please email a cover letter to [email protected].

In your cover letter include the following:

  1. Why you would like to join our team of volunteers
  2. Skills/experience/competencies you will bring to the role.

The closing date for applications is Friday, July 21.

Note: – This is a voluntary role and it will not be remunerated.

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