GAA opens doors to Heineken Cup


The GAA central council has unanimously agreed to allow Munster play their Heineken Cup semi-final at Croke Park in May, should they see off the challenge of the Ospreys in the quarter-final at Thomond Park.

The match may well be against Leinster if Michael Cheika’s side win their match away to London Harlequins.

Speaking today from the Hayes’s Hotel, Thurles, where the GAA was found 125 years ago, association president Nickey Brennan told RTE Radio no vote was required.

“Central Council had the response from (IRFU chief executive) Philip Brown and IRFU relating to the possible use of Croke Park for a Munster game in the semi-final of the Heineken Cup.

“Munster versus either Leinster or London Harlequins, and central council has agreed to that request this afternoon.

“There was no vote. There was no need for me to ask for a vote. It was very clear that there was support for it,” added Brennan.

“There was a good discussion on it, a very clear discussion on it. Some people very clearly expressed reservations that perhaps it wasn’t in the spirit of what was passed but at the same time, nobody called for a vote and I was very happy to see it through on that basis.”

If Munster are pitted against Leinster, a capacity crowd of 82,000 is virtually guaranteed for on hte first weekend of May. Both sides play their quarter-finals on April 12th.

In a statement released this afternoon, Browne said: “I would like to thank GAA president Nicky Brennan and the GAA central council for today’s decision as it allows us to work towards confirming the venues for the semi finals of the Heineken Cup.

“The prospect of either Munster playing in the stadium or the possibility of another all Ireland semi final between Munster and Leinster is an exciting one for Irish Rugby fans.”

Jean-Pierre Lux, ERC chairman added: “On behalf of the board of ERC, I would like to thank GAA president Nicky Brennan and the wider association for making their magnificent stadium available to the Heineken Cup for these potential semi-final fixtures.

"Should a semi-final in Ireland arise, Croke Park would certainly serve as a fantastic backdrop for this showpiece European semi-final."