Spotlight on Limerick for International Rules 2009

Tuesday, February 17th 2009

Mayor of Limerick, Cllr John Gilligan has welcomed the decision by the GAA to host the opening game of the 2009 International Rules series at the city’s Gaelic Grounds.

The opening test between Australia and Ireland on October 24th will be broadcast live on RTE Television. It is also expected that millions of Australian viewers will tune in to witness the action at the Ennis Road venue. The match which will see the best Irish Gaelic footballers take on the best from the Australian Football League is likely to attract a capacity crowd of 50,000 people. It will be one of the first games to be played under new floodlights at the grounds.

“I’m delighted that a city like Limerick renowned for its love of sport has secured this major event,” said Mayor of Limerick, Cllr John Gilligan. “I particularly enjoyed the last International Rules series which was played in great spirit and I think the series has evolved to become a fast, free flowing game.  It’s also a chance for Limerick to showcase its fantastic Gaelic Grounds stadium and we look forward to welcoming lots of both Irish and Australian visitors to our riverside city.”

Limerick Chamber of Commerce estimates that the October fixture will be worth millions to the local economy. “I’m sure that our network of hotels are particularly delighted but even if people don’t stay in the city, they will spend money on things like fuel, food and drink so securing this event is hugely important,” said Maria Kelly, chief executive, Limerick Chamber. Limerick County Secretary, Mike O’Riordan, admitted the city fought off some stiff competition for the right to host the game.

Casement Park in Belfast, Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon and Semple Stadium in Thurles were among the contenders all vying for the honour. The International Rules Series between senior teams from Australia and Ireland has been played annually since 1998 (except for the cancelled 2007 edition). It has generally been a closely matched contest with the early series generally going to the visiting team and later titles almost always going to the host team.

The Limerick event will be the first of two tests to take place in Ireland, the second will take place a week later, on November 1 2009 at Croke Park.

Laura Ryan
Communications Officer
Limerick City and County Council
Phone: 061-407100

Last update:19/02/2014