Phase 1 of the historic redevelopment of The Sportsground has now begun with the installation of a new artificial playing surface and floodlight system.

To read more on the redevelopment Click Here for the official statement by Connacht Rugby.

Check out the images below of Phase 1

Connacht Rugby are delighted to confirm that Phase 1 of the historic redevelopment of The Sportsground has now begun with the installation of a new artificial playing surface and floodlight system.
 
Following preliminary works earlier this week, a full excavation of the pitch is now underway to allow the laying of a new state-of-the-art surface ahead of the 2022/23 season.
 
The new artificial surface will enable Connacht Rugby to retain The Sportsground as both its training and playing base long into the future with additional capacity to continue hosting the very many club and school games that take place in the Sportsground every year.
 
Meanwhile Phase 2 of the redevelopment will soon be entering the procurement phase leading to the construction of a state-of-the-art High Performance Centre and the construction of a new North Stand to follow thereafter.
 
Willie Ruane, CEO of Connacht Rugby says:
 
“This is a historic occasion for Connacht Rugby. ‘Facilities to match our ambition’ has been a key pillar of our vision and strategy, and plans for such a facility have been in the works for many years now. Today we are delighted to confirm that Phase 1 on the construction of this new facility has now begun.
 
There are many advantages to an artificial surface, not least that it enables us to remain in The Sportsground as both our training and playing base. The additional capacity that this surface provides will also give boys and girls across the province greater opportunities to play at the home of Connacht Rugby, and act as a beacon that future generations of players and supporters can be proud of.
 
The new LED floodlight system will also greatly enhance the viewing experience for both supporters attending games and those watching at home.
 
Needless to say The Sportsground holds an emotional attachment for all of us and any change can be difficult. These works however represent a new phase in the life of The Sportsground and one that will secure its future as a fit-for-purpose facility for many years to come.
 
This redevelopment project is also the start of what is a very exciting time for Connacht Rugby. The new High Performance Centre will give all our squads state-of-the-art facilities that will help them prepare to their fullest potential and to perform at the highest level. The new North Stand will also transform the club in terms of the facilities we can offer our fans and players and in the commercial and financial benefits that accrue with that.
 
Finally, I would like to thank the Government, whose financial support has made this redevelopment possible, the Sportsground Stakeholders and our local residents for their fulsome support of this project.”
 

 

Connacht Rugby can confirm that for the first time in over two years, temporary terracing will be installed at The Sportsground to accommodate a huge demand for tickets.
 
The terraces will be located in the Bohermore Road and College Road ends for both fixtures against Leinster Rugby in the URC (26th March) and Heineken Champions Cup (8th April), and will bring the capacity at The Sportsground up to an extended 8,129.
 
This marks the first time additional terracing will be installed at the ground since before the COVID-19 pandemic, when 8,129 were in attendance for the Heineken Champions Cup meeting with Toulouse in January 2020.
 
Both games come at vital times in Connacht’s season, with the squad continuing its push towards reaching the URC playoffs before the historic knockout clash in the Heineken Champions Cup – a first for the club.
 
Connacht’s Head of Commercial & Marketing, Philip Patterson says:
 
“We have seen an incredible demand for tickets for these two huge games, so we are making every effort to ensure we can accommodate as many supporters as possible. These extended terraces will allow for an additional 4,000 fans across both fixtures.
 
We should also recognise the significant milestone of requiring these additional terraces for the first time in the COVID-19 era. The passion and enthusiasm from our loyal supporters remains as strong as ever.
 
We would strongly encourage all supporters who are planning to attend to book their tickets as soon as possible, if they haven’t already done so.”

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.

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