Connacht Rugby have been handed a boost ahead of their Heineken Cup debut this season after the Sports Council confirmed they would receive a grant for the refurbishment of the Sports Grounds in Galway.
The ERC demand that grounds being used for Europe’s top competition meets certain standards. Connacht’s home in Galway doesn’t meet some of these basic standards and as a result they have to improve the facilities which would cost substantial money which the province simply do not have. Minister for State Michael Ring has confirmed though that a special grant has been awarded to Connacht Rugby for the vital improvement of the Galway Sports Ground. The grant is worth €424,000 and Connacht will use the funds to build a new terrace as well as improving pedestrian access, increase capacity and also build new toilet facilities.
The once off grant will now allow them to play their home Heineken Cup games at the Sports Grounds. Work has already started at the Galway venue but this grant should allow the work to be finished and further improve the facilities.
Speaking on the grant, Michael Ring commented on how important it was for Connacht to play their home games in the Heineken Cup at the Sports Grounds.
“I am very pleased to announce this funding, which will make a real difference to the game of rugby in Connacht. It’s great to know that Connacht will be able to compete in the Heineken Cup on their own turf,”
It has been a successful few months for Connacht on and off the pitch. They have recently signed a new deal with Mazda for sponsorship and this grant emphasises the growing nature of Rugby in the province.
Connacht kick off their debut Heineken Cup campaign with an away trip to Harlequins followed by their first home game against European heavy weights Toulouse in Galway on Saturday 19th November.
Written by Ryan Bailey, @ryanbaileysport