Casement Park to host International Rules in 2009?

Ireland’s victory over Australia in the reconvened International Rules series (or rather the trouble-free manner in which the two fixtures were played) seems to have put the games firmly back on schedule as a permanent fixture- though arguments persist over gap year plans. However, the news that Ulster is due to host Game 1 of the 2009 fixtures has led to speculation that Belfast’s Casement Park will be the venue for the game between the two countries, though as the Irish News notes, such a development would be subject to serious improvements in the player-changing and media facilities at the Belfast venue.

  • Paul

    NI PLC should be embarassed at having to host such a high profile international fixture in this primitive arena.

    The quicker the Maze is proceeded with the better.

    Forget about serious improvements in the player-changing and media facilities at the Belfast venue.
    There would need to be a miraculous improvement in specatator facilities.
    2700 covered seats out a capacity of 35000 doesn’t bode well for an October fixture.

    Long term, the GAA need to come up with an alternative to Casement, and one that doesn’t involve a trek to Clones.

    The problem is that Casement, hemmed in on all sides is not big enough to ever become a proper 35k seater stadium.

  • john

    It would be tremendous if Belfast could host one of the tests.

    It would be great for the city and a 35,0000 capacity is guaranteed.

    If the Executive ever comes to a decision over sporting stadia in the city, i would presume Casement, Windsor and Ravenhill will all benefit.

  • Paul

    John,

    Throwing a few pennies to provide a few seats at Casement won’t suffice.
    For starters, there isn’t enough space there to provide a proper 40k stadium.

    Secondly, the facilities there are so poor (2k seats out of a 30k capacity), that vast sums would be needed to bring them up to the same standard as any new soccer/rugby stadium.

    There’s no benefit in upgrading Casement to anything more than a good county ground, say 20k capacity, at least 12k seated and covered.
    It simply will never have the room to deliver the 40k capacity that the GAA needs.

    The IRFU last week announced that they would come onboard the concept of a shared soccer and rugby stadium in Belfast.

    To build an all seated, fully covered stadium that suits soccer/rugby’s needs, but not reciprocate for gaelic games (NI’s best attended sport ffs), must surely be politically unacceptable.

    If the govt couldn’t afford to build one 35/42k capacity stadium at the Maze, it’s unlikely that it would be able to fully afford to build two separate ones.

    As a consequence, I’d say that the only fair way to split the money would be to give each stadium the same percentage funding.

    To illustrate, say there was £50M available. It costs, say £45M, for the gaelic football stadium, and £20M for the soccer/rugby stadium.
    The gaelic football stadium should get £35M, and the soccer/rugby stadium £15M.

    Anything else doesn’t stand up to scrutiny on fairness grounds.

    The Maze is the only solution that delivers the minimum criteria of all three sports, whilst ensuring fairness for all.

  • manichaeism

    Will we have to play “God Save The Queen” if the match is staged in the North?!

  • Paul

    Anything but Irelands Call

  • iluvni

    Perhaps they should have a Tri-Nations series in Belfast…Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Australia.

  • El Paso

    Will we have to play “God Save The Queen” …Australia’s national anthem is Advance Australia FAir.

  • Greenflag

    Not sure too many Aussies will want to travel to Belfast at this time . In terms of revenue generation Croker is still the best venue . If and when Belfast gets it’s sports stadium morass sorted out then it’ll be time to consider Belfast for one of the tests alternating with Cork or somewhere else that can pack in 40,000 or so fans.

    And for fecks sake don’t start the ‘anthem ‘ shite on a might not even happen event in the future . Building stadiums in the air is bad enough without already fillng the crowd with ‘anthem ‘ eejits 🙁

  • manichaeism

    I know El Paso. I was thinking we would have to play it for Ireland. After all there are Ulstermen on the team!!

  • El Paso

    Mani…very good!
    The 2006 Rules game in Galway’s Pearse Stadium worked out pretty well and the atmosphere there was reported to be better than Croke Park. The idea of distibuting games mongst the provinces is an excellent one and I’m glad the experiment is to be continued. Admittedly the regional stadia are not exactly state of the art but that should be a secondary consideration, bringing the game to the people is far more important.

  • lee

    ‘Perhaps they should have a Tri-Nations series in Belfast…Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Australia.’

    Be difficult to have a Northern Ireland team when no such team exists in Gaelic football. Just like Rugby, Cricket, Hockey etc..etc..its Ireland.

  • pfhl

    I was at a discussion night before the all-ireland where Brennan was om the panel. He seemed all for the maze idea while accepting it wasn’t in the financial interests of the GAA as it is cheaper for them to hold ulster finals at Clones. Maybe he is trying to put a bit of pressure on northern politicians to sort this mess over the stadium out.

    At the minute casement is a disgrace though, nowhere near fit enough to host an international rules match. If the maze is not going ahaead the Ulster council has as much right as anybody to get the funds left over. Maybe we could see a greatly improved casement. I expect trouble ahead though, I have no faith in the slightest of Gregory Campell treating the GAA fairly in regards to the stadium. For this reason the game will end up at healy park with its superior media facilities or clones as it pays.

  • GavBelfast

    Still flogging the dead white elephant, Paul?

    As for the GAA, some of its neanderthal aspects make it so easy for people like Gregory Campbell to take penalty kicks at it.

    You can be proudly Irish and all-Irish in character – it can hardly be nor expected to be anything else – but without the things that make it unappealing, alien and even just seen as being anti-Northern Protestants.

  • Paul

    Gav,

    re “Still flogging the dead white elephant, Paul?”

    well I’ll change my mind if somebody comes up with an equivalent scheme that

    1. meets the requirements of all three sports bodies (minimum p.a. attendances agreed by sports bodies at 150k GAA, 80k IFA, 40k for rugby).

    2. is optimally located to ensure that journey times are minimised for the largest possible number of people who will actually use the stadium

    3. delivers capacity in a more cost effective solution for all three sports bodies

    I’m still waiting for you / anybody else to come up with an alternative scheme(s) that trumps the maze on all three points.

  • Driftwood

    Whatever happens about the Maze, it certainly will not have a stadium anytime soon. As for referring to ‘international rules’ as a high profile event, get a life. I’d never heard of it until now. About as high profile as the Setanta Cup. I wonder what the viewing figures for tonights game will be? Good luck to Glentoran anyway.

  • lee

    ‘but without the things that make it unappealing, alien and even just seen as being anti-Northern Protestants.’

    gavbelfast

    It must be like internationals at Windsor Park then.

    Unionist anthem, Unionist flags, Unionist chants & songs and run by an association almost exclsively Unionist in make up.

  • Paul

    Driftwood,

    re “I’d never heard of it until now.”

    that probably says more about you, or even Belfast Telegraph / BBC NI / UTV’s poor coverage of the sport that more people in NI attend, ie gaelic football.

    I can never comprehend how NI soccer gets so much coverage when average crowds are about 700.

    http://foot.ie/forums/showthread.php?s=e77fcd1b14bb753bd02133c8d2725fe6&t=104320

    GAA club championship matches get crowds in excess of 5 to 20 times those figures and get comparatively less coverage.

    Oh, and sometimes the only coverage we get is misbalanced reporting on negative events.

    Despite hardly showing a score in a club game all year this week the BBC NI repeated the Tyrone Final headbutt incident at least 5 times on the news. The match itself, crowd over 5,000, got no coverage – not one score was shown!

    No problem showing all the goals from some Irish League matches with crowds of 200 though.

    The Belfast Tele do the same – only the negative GAA stuff makes it to the back page, usually portaying GAA players as savages. Whereas the truly savage goings on in rugby are never covered in the same way.

  • Paul

    Hey Driftwood,

    just did a google news search and you can clearly see that the number of articles on the International Rules series is in the thousands.

    http://news.google.co.uk/news?num=50&hl=en&q=ireland+australia+rules&ie=UTF-8

    Looks pretty high profile to me, certainly in Australia and Ireland, if not in the GAA wastelands of Havelock House and the BBC NI sports dept, which was probably too busy covering an epic Dungannon v Bangor match (attendance 135).

  • richard

    ‘Looks pretty high profile to me, certainly in Australia and Ireland, if not in the GAA wastelands of Havelock House and the BBC NI sports dept, which was probably too busy covering an epic Dungannon v Bangor match (attendance 135).’

    Newry City must be well pleased after beating the Dungannon v Bangor crowd by 36.

    NEWRY V INSTITUTE 171

    Makes you wonder why our licence fees are being wasted on this by the Beeb.

  • flaminglip

    “Whatever happens about the Maze, it certainly will not have a stadium anytime soon. As for referring to ‘international rules’ as a high profile event, get a life. I’d never heard of it until now. About as high profile as the Setanta Cup. I wonder what the viewing figures for tonights game will be? Good luck to Glentoran anyway.”

    Yes, it isn’t high profile at all. Ok, 80,000 people went to Croke Park to watch it last time it was in Ireland, but that’s nothing compared to the Setanta Cup, right?

  • Driftwood

    Paul
    point taken, but I guess the Daily Telegraph as my paper of choice, I don’t tend to notice these things. See my post to Dave re: Stanford.
    Seems it’s not just the DUP pissed off with the local media then. I accept that the TV cameras at every Irish League ground are ridiculous. Still. good luck to the Glens tonight. Hope Andy Waterworth gets 90 mins. Off to the pub now to watch it.
    flaming lip. There were over 80,000 in the Centenarios stadium in Montevideo last month to see Uruguay v Peru, but it didn’t rate a mention on the media here.

  • niall

    Chris,

    We had a long blog recently on a GAA theme.

    I commented there to the effect that some in the north use the GAA to point score and the association in the south is a very different thing which is wise to this fact and uncomfortable with it.

    Slugger on issues of sport in particular always gets into shit throwing for the sake of it.

    I wonder why you’d invite comments on this topic?

    My suspicion is that you’re not a GAA man at all. And if you are you’re probably coming with good old sectarian baggage before any interest in the games first.

    Tell me I’m wrong and I’ll gladly apologise. Did you ever play the game yourself?

    On the question you ask anyone really involved in the games would suspect that it won’t happen in Belfast because Casement is a poor facility in a bad location. For God sake it is in Antrim and they should try and win a few games before worrying about anything else.

    Are you from Antrim? Live there? If you’re so concerned about the games go coach a youth team and let others worry about where the game will be played.

  • brendan,belfast

    Well Niall, I am from Antrim, live there, played the game and coach a youth team. So maybe in your eyes I am allowed to comment on this.

    Having one of the Interntaional Rules matches in Casement next October would just be fantastic.We need encouragement and support for young playersfrom bottom up and top down. Ain’t a thing wrong with aiming high for a local GAA event.

  • Ri Na Deise

    Arra dont mind that oul big ball craic.:-) Antrim should be more proud of their efforts promoting and sustaining the beautiful game of hurling whilst far removed from the games stronghold. A few home games in next years Leinster? championship wouldnt go astray.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Niall

    Oh so many questions….

    Firstly, given that Slugger is a discussion forum, it kinda invites blogs on all types of themes making the news (and even those that don’t).

    Sport is a big part of many people’s lives, and can invite strong opinions. However, on a site dedicated to discussing Irish political issues as well as other matters, avoiding areas of interest on the basis that somebody will throw the odd sectarian remark into the mix would result in very few threads being started, which would be a pity in my mind.

    And if you can’t work out that Belfast people would be interested to hear that Casement could host the International Rules series, then it certainly is a while since you’ve been amongst Belfast Gaels.

    If you are a regular visitor to Slugger, then you’ll know I’ve started many sporting threads on the site (even a fantasy football league..) ranging from GAA, Soccer to US College football and Baseball.

    Regarding the GAA and my ‘right’ to speak on matters involving said association, I think it’s not a good idea to go down the road of putting obstacles before commentary, not least on spurious grounds of having to prove worthiness or otherwise.

    Nevertheless, for your benefit, I’ve never played either hurling or football for a club- being a soccer-mad youth, but played in school and have helped coach numerous under age teams at school level- including the current Belfast Primary school champs (and we celebrated that victory in Casement last June as if it was our own All-Ireland triumph…)

    Regarding Casement’s suitability, you’re being a bit harsh. Yes, as has been conceded in the news story linked, the ground certainly would require improvements to media and changing facilities, but I wouldn’t rule out the site as a venue for a one-off match of this kind. The ‘location’, close to the motorway and several large parking sites, can hardly be described as ‘bad’ by GAA ground standards, unless of course you mean the middle of Andersonstown. And on the matter of true Gaels really involved knowing where the games will be played: the Casement suggestion came from the very top…

    And, finally, on Antrim’s woes to date. Surely the performance of the footballers and hurlers should not be a reason to rule out a county venue?

  • flaminglip

    “There were over 80,000 in the Centenarios stadium in Montevideo last month to see Uruguay v Peru, but it didn’t rate a mention on the media here.”

    Wow, it’s awfully strange then how they show clips of the ROI games on Newsline etc.

    Plus furthermore, the Republic is only the 26 counties, whereas the Irish International Rules squad is made out of the whole of Ireland.

    And again, same thing goes for the Irish Rugby squad playing in Croke Park. Is it no different to Uruguay V Peru?

  • LURIG

    Casement is being edged out as a major Ulster provincial GAA ground. There are those within the Ulster GAA community who just don’t like Belfast full stop and don’t like going to it for matches. It is a bit self inflicted from Gaels within Antrim and Belfast who can be a bit in your face and unfriendly towards their country cousins. The Belfast hardman image from some of the stewards is very off putting and the shops and bars around the ground can sometimes be intolerant and unfriendly towards those from out of town. However the behaviour goes both ways, many Belfast people don’t like the farmer students with GAA club/county tops who come up every year and annoy everybody with their boorish loutish behaviour like playing football at 4.00 in the morning. That is is why Antrim is shite at county level. The city folk and rural folk hate each other and are more interested in their clubs. Belfast GAA people can be insular at times and country people have a massive chip on their shoulder about the big smoke. Casement is suffering because of this.

  • Driftwood

    flaminglip
    As someone who has relatives in several foreign countries, USA, Irish Republic, Uruguay, Germany. Why expect the UK mediia to comment on events in countries abroad? I wish there was more BBC NI coverage of events in all the above countries, but alas, they tend to stick to UK stuff. So it goes.

  • niall

    Well Chris,

    I’m not saying that you don’t have a right to comment on GAA matters or anything like that. Sometimes they are rightfully commented on as being a relevant and interesting topic on “Northern Ireland Politics and Culture”. At other times the blogs are just a venue for sectarian numpty-ness.

    There are clearly those on “both sides” of this sectarian place who see the GAA as a platform to work of on the business of sectarian point scoring.

    I see this blog in this place and wonder whether you consider that to be the case.

    Also our GAA is independent. Our community own our facilities and enjoy them. We worked hard to that end. We had support from the public purse by pursuing funding in a very prescriptive manner while constantly fundraising.

    Here’s and idea, why don’t you Brendan and the rest of your Belfast Gaels do the same. Go to congress, committee or wherever and ask for the game. That’s what any other county would do.

    It’s not the Belfast Gaels way though is it? Drag the association through the sectarian gutter that generally exists on Sluggers sports blogs, drag out and compare us to the OO the FAI, Hockey, Rugby whatever, start a media campaign about your rights and then when the team gets picked and there isn’t an Antrim man in sight start another Blog with Lurig about how it’s all town and country and no one likes us be won’t care.

    Thanks for laying your GAA background on the table, I take it your a teacher then? So basically your involvement started when you were in emplyment and that necessitated coaching a team?

  • pfhl

    As for referring to ‘international rules’ as a high profile event, get a life. I’d never heard of it until now.

    Posted by Driftwood on Nov 01, 2008 @ 06:34 PM

    Not watch the local news then?

  • pfhl

    Here’s and idea, why don’t you Brendan and the rest of your Belfast Gaels do the same. Go to congress, committee or wherever and ask for the game. That’s what any other county would do.

    Posted by niall on Nov 02, 2008 @ 02:33 AM

    We don’t need to, Nicky likes us because we play the proper gaelic sport unlike the rest of you planters playing a bastardisation of soccer and rugby.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Thanks for laying your GAA background on the table, I take it your a teacher then? So basically your involvement started when you were in emplyment and that necessitated coaching a team?

    Niall

    Right on first score, wrong on second. I’m not obliged to coach any teams as part of employment, it’s a choice, just like coaching a team in the local club. In own time, after employment hours and without financial recompense.

    On sectarian ‘point scoring’ I don’t see how this blog fits into that category- perhaps you’d like to elaborate how pointing out that the GAA upper echelons have floated the idea of playing an International Rules series game at Casement could be deemed sectarian?

    I’d certainly be interested in your reply.

    Out of interest, given that there are a number of threads on Slugger about cricket at present (and rightly so in my mind), do you regard those as ‘sectarian’ in motivation, or is it just GAA threads that fall into this category? If so, that’s a fascinating/depressing line for a GAA enthusiast to take.

  • Mick Fealty

    Niall,

    Those rucks are part of the general condition. Are you saying no one can blog about just because some idiot will likely use it to make cheap point that is entirely beside the point of the original piece?

    Check out this from three years back: http://www.sluggerotoole.com/archives/2005/08/the_kit_and_the.php

    Call our bloggers to account for what they write by all means. But address it to the kit, not the kaboodle!

  • Ri Na Deise

    pfhl

    Tis true for ye boy. Give up that oul big ball craic.:-D

  • SEAN

    International Rules Series, really. I prefer the title dubbed by one wag, INTERNATIONL FOOLS SERIES. How can anyone get excited about a contrived piece of nonsense, that only claim to fame is that is a total mishmash of Bogball , Aussie Rules ,and is notorious more for it act of savagery than any sporting aspect. Next thing you know Paddy Heaney , complaining in the Irish News that this pathetic excuse for a game is not being given enough coverage and calling for it to be broadcast live, when it next resurfaces. Bogball been existence for a century and has not been able to attract a soul to play anywhere on the planet other than it captive Catholic community. Now these idiots are trying to peddle a clown game as a International Game. Give my head peace.

  • then

    Down with Belfast

  • niall

    Chris,

    There is very little to be said on the game being played in Belfast or not. The fact is that any blog on sport attracts comments like Pauls about the state funding of stadia with football v rugby v GAA which inevitably attracts comment on a sectarian rut.

    Soon thereafter you have Driftwood getting in his dig, and soon after SEAN is into it aswell. Clearly neither have any interest in the Games.

    Has your Blog attracted more than a few comments of any real worth?

    The question of where these games is played is nothing to do with the Irishnews really but they are entitled to fill the paper with what they will.

    If this Blog was Slugger O’Toole – notes on the GAA then fair enough but it’s not.

    It’s Notes on Northern Ireland and therefore that place being a sectarian hole with no real desire to change anything ever posted on here generally is a mirror to the base elements.

    I’m just suspicious that it is being used and abused as a platform to work of in a sectarian point scoring exercise. You clearly don’t share that view.

    Here, on a blog were sectarian contributions both veiled an open are the grist to the mill I don’t like the games which mean much to me and mine to be continually dragged to centre stage to satisfy what exactly I don’t know?

    Perhaps you just want an auld gossip “be handy and good if games in casement” “aw yeah yer not wrong there”.

    I don’t think the Cricket blogs are sectarian but i’m sure if I go a looking you’ll have the trolls there too with their sectarian bile.

    Sorry, but I think there are some who want to work off the GAA on both sides and I don’t like it.

    Mick,

    It’s been ten years since the GFA, much of which I’ve spent abroad. I have at times been much impressed by the commentary on slugger but recently I feel that ultimately the sectarian mob have the staying power over the sane in the online world?

    Maybe Slugger ultimately is a tool to take the braindead in norn iron online and off our streets. If only?

  • flaminglip

    “flaminglip
    As someone who has relatives in several foreign countries, USA, Irish Republic, Uruguay, Germany. Why expect the UK mediia to comment on events in countries abroad? I wish there was more BBC NI coverage of events in all the above countries, but alas, they tend to stick to UK stuff. So it goes.”

    Did you even read my post? It’s like you just gave a stock “ULSTER IS BRITISH” answer. My comparison to the Irish soccer and rugby team (particularly the latter) is a fair one.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Niall

    I’ll keep it simple. You need to learn the trick most sensible Slugger posters and contributors learnt a long time ago: ignore the trolls and those simply interested in pouring out bile. You’ll never be able to change everybody nor prevent said types from getting their ‘oar’ in, relevant though it may not be.

    I recently started a thread on architecture in Belfast and thoroughly enjoyed several of the contributions. That said, there was also the usual thoughtless contribution from those with little constructive to add.

    So what? Scroll past them and ignore what isn’t worth reading.

    Trust me, it’s possible. It’ll make your time here much more enjoyable.