Demolition teams begin work at Lansdowne Road

 

It was a historic occasion for rugby and soccer fans yesterday as the demolition of Lansdowne Road stadium got under way.

Terraces crumbled as the diggers moved in to flatten the arena which is undergoing a €350 million redevelopment.

In what will be seven months of works in removing the stands from the skyline, the south terrace was the first to be knocked to the ground.

Construction of a new 50,000-seater stadium will begin next May, with the facility opening for matches in 2010.

Minister for Arts and Sport John O'Donoghue, the FAI's John Delaney and Philip Browne of the IRFU looked on as the ground took her final bow.

"This is another milestone in the long history of Lansdowne Road," said Mr Browne. "After the various delays, we are delighted to see this project get under way in earnest, and I know that Irish rugby supporters will be proud of their new stadium when it is complete."

Built in the suburb of Ballsbridge, Lansdowne Road is the world's oldest international stadium. It opened as a multi-purpose sports venue in 1872, hosting its first international rugby match between Ireland and England in 1878.

Although the main contract for the construction of the new stadium is still out for tender, Project Management Group, Ireland's largest project management firm, is managing the overall development.