Leinster opposed to idea of Good Friday quarter-final
Province requests tea-time Saturday slot for crunch meeting with rivals Bath
Leinster might be able to obtain a licence to sell alcohol inside the Aviva Stadium for a Good Friday quarter-final, but there would still be a huge loss economically to the local area. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.
Leinster are adamantly opposed to their European Champions Cup quarter-final against Bath at the Aviva Stadium taking place on Good Friday. The quarter-finals are scheduled for Easter weekend – Friday, April 3rd to Sunday, April 5th – and Leinster have requested a tea-time slot for Saturday 4th.
An EPCR (European Professional Club Rugby) spokesperson has said that the new governing body have sent out alternative dates to the eight quarter-finalists, although clearly the times and dates will largely hinge on which games BT and Sky Sports plump for.
BT have first choice on their two quarter-finals, as all of them feature English teams, and the expectation is that they would pick Leinster v Bath given they have more scope to break into the Irish market and have hired Brian O’Driscoll in an otherwise all-English line-up of pundits.
The clubs’ responses and feedback would also have a bearing on the choice of times and dates, according to the EPCR spokesperson, given their awareness of possible clashes with other sporting events such as football matches or prospective traffic problems etc.
“We have requested a Saturday tea-time slot,” confirmed the Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson. “Having the game on Good Friday would be a disaster economically, as the local pub owners, restaurants and hoteliers would be up in arms given the loss of business to them.” This in turn would also dissuade Bath fans from travelling over for the quarter-final.
“We might be able to obtain a licence to sell alcohol inside the stadium but that would be as far as it would go. If you remember, a special one-off licence to sell alcohol was granted for Limerick when Munster played Leinster at Thomond Park on Good Friday (in 2010), but that would not be granted to Dublin,” said Dawson, who expressed the belief that two of the quarter-finals will be on Saturday, April 4th, and two on Easter Sunday, April 5th.
The EPCR spokesperson said the clubs would be notified “maybe next week” of the times and dates for the quarter-finals in both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, where Connacht are away to Gloucester.