GAA match to be played at Ravenhill

‘A few years ago the GAA were very kind to allow rugby to be played in Croke Park . . . it’s nice for Ulster Rugby to return the favour’

Ulster Rugby’s Ravenhill will stage a GAA match for the first time in 90 years. Photograph: Dan Sheridan / Inpho

Ulster Rugby and Ulster GAA will come together to stage the first major Gaelic Football match to be played at Ravenhill Road.

The historic match will be in aid of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

It is the first Gaelic football match to be played in the grounds in 90 years, since Ulster Rugby have been tenants. Prior to that, the grounds were a park, where it is believed Gaelic games were played.

The event will be spearheaded by Anto Finnegan, the former Antrim GAA captain, who, following his diagnosis with MND, has been committed to building awareness and financial support for the degenerative disease.


Details of the match will be announced this week where Dublin football manager Jim Gavin, as well as leading GAA players, will be in attendance.

Others attending will include the president of the GAA Liam O’Neill and the chief executive of Ulster Rugby Shane Logan, as well as political stakeholders.

“A few years ago the GAA were very kind to allow rugby to be played in Croke Park during the development of Lansdowne Road,” said an Ulster official. “It’s nice for Ulster Rugby now to return the favour and stage a GAA match here.”

There has been an ongoing association and co-operation in Ulster between the GAA , football and rugby, who all received government grants to restore and improve their stadia.

“There is a close relationship certainly between Ulster Rugby and the GAA and this has been the case for some years now,” added the official. “We are very pleased to stage this GAA match at our new stadium while Casement Park is being redeveloped.”

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times