Thomond Park

Thomond Park is a stadium in Limerick in the Irish province of Munster. The stadium is owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union[4] and has Munster Rugby, Shannon RFC and UL Bohemian RFC as tenants. Limerick FC played home games in Thomond Park from 2013 to 2015 in the League of Ireland while the Markets Field was being redeveloped. The capacity of the stadium is 25,600 following its large-scale redevelopment in 2008.[3]

Thomond Park
Páirc Thuamhan[1][2]
Fortress Thomond
Thomond Park.jpg
View of east stand after redevelopment
LocationLimerick
Coordinates52°40′27″N 8°38′33″W / 52.67417°N 8.64250°W / 52.67417; -8.64250Coordinates: 52°40′27″N 8°38′33″W / 52.67417°N 8.64250°W / 52.67417; -8.64250
Public transitLimerick railway station
Ballynanty Road bus stop
OwnerIrish Rugby Football Union
Capacity25,600[3] (15,100 seated)[a]
SurfaceGrass
Opened1934
Tenants
Munster Rugby
Shannon RFC
UL Bohemian RFC
Limerick FC (2013–2015)

HistoryEdit

The stadium holds a special place in rugby due to its own unique history and atmosphere.[5][6] The stadium is famed for its noise during play and the complete silence while home and away players are kicking for goal.[7] Munster also retained an intimidating 12-year unbeaten run at Thomond in the Heineken Cup—running from the competition's start in 1995 until 2007 when the Leicester Tigers broke the streak with a 13–6 win. On 31 October 1978 Munster celebrated their historic 12–0 victory over the All Blacks in front 12,000 fans at Thomond Park.[8]

Pre redevelopmentEdit

Thomond Park (named after the medieval kingdom of Thomond) originally consisted of two pitches, the main pitch and a training pitch. The main pitch was bounded on all sides by terracing with a stand above the west terrace. The training pitch was behind the west stand with the Shannon R.F.C. pavilion in the southwest corner of the ground. The UL Bohemian R.F.C. pavilion was within the west stand.

Traditionally, the former terracing and four sides of the pitch had local nicknames, however they have since fallen out of local parlance. The most famous of these was the east terrace, which was known among fans as the "Popular side", this sat opposite the "Stand side", joining the "City End" (South Terrace) with the "Ballynanty End" (North Terrace).[9][10] The "Popular side" gained notoriety in local rugby folklore for the colourful comments that can be heard emanating from local wags and alickadoos in the direction of the pitch, occasionally drawing reaction from players and officials, to the amusement of other attendants.[9]

Prior to redevelopment, the official capacity of Thomond Park was 13,000.[11] The highest pre-redevelopment official attendance in Thomond Park was 18,000 people and occurred in 1992 in a local derby in the All-Ireland League between clubs Shannon RFC and Garryowen FC.[12]

RedevelopmentEdit

In 1998 and 1999, following the introduction of the professional era, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) spent several million pounds on floodlighting, terracing, toilets, medical facilities and a new pitch for the ground. In January 2006, the Munster Branch of the IRFU made offers to buy some adjacent houses to expand the stadium. In March 2006 the IRFU and Munster Rugby announced that Thomond Park was unanimously selected for the site of the branch's new stadium, and in May 2006 the design for the re-development was unveiled.[13][11] Work started in early 2007, and the project was completed for a re-opening in Autumn 2008.

The principal elements of the project saw the erection of two new stands adjacent to the existing main pitch, with a seating capacity of 15,100 and terrace capacity of 10,530, or 25,630 in all.[14]

It was thought that Thomond Park would be renamed in a sponsorship deal, following its redevelopment.[15] However, it was confirmed in February 2008 that the name Thomond Park would remain the same, with naming rights being sold for the individual stands instead.[16]

AtmosphereEdit

Thomond Park is well known for its atmosphere. During a rugby match, the home fans can be heard singing songs such as "The Fields of Athenry" and "Stand Up and Fight". These two songs play a vital role in Munster rugby as they are Munster's anthems. Donal Spring, one of the heroes of 1978, credits the spectators for its unique ethos: "What's so special about Thomond Park? The crowd. Simply the crowd. The atmosphere is electric. Of all the places I've played, playing with Munster at Thomond Park is what I’ve enjoyed most."[17]

The home crowd is also famous for its silence when a team's kicker is kicking for goal. This has been known to put the away team's kicker off, although it is done out of respect.

In August 2013 Thomond Park was awarded the title of 'Best Rugby Stadium in the World' following a vote by rugby supporters across the globe.[18]

 
Munster Fans during an April 2010 Heineken cup match versus Northampton
 
Munster vs Leinster 28 December 2019
 
Munster vs Bourgoin October 2006

Ireland InternationalsEdit

Limerick has hosted 13 Ireland internationals, 12 of which were held at Thomond Park, four of which were full internationals. The results are as follows:

Ireland Senior Test Matches
Date Home Away Final score Competition Attendance
19 March 1898   Ireland   Wales* 3 – 11 1898 Home Nations Championship est. 10–15,000[19]
7 September 2002   Ireland   Romania 39 – 8 Friendly 8,000[20]
30 August 2003   Ireland   Italy 61 – 6 Friendly (warm up for 2003 Rugby World Cup) 14,000[21]
8 November 2008   Ireland   Canada 55 – 0 Friendly 21,500[22]
 *The match was played at the County Cricket Grounds on what is now the Limerick Lawn Tennis Club.[23][19]

Updated as of 22 April 2021.[24]

Ireland Uncapped International Matches
Date Home Away Final score Competition Attendance
10 March 1990   Ireland U25   United States 12 – 10
8 September 1990   Ireland U25   Spain 36 – 17 1990 Spain rugby union tour [25]
20 October 1990   Ireland B   Argentina 27 – 12 1990 Argentina rugby union tour of British Isles
20 March 1998   Ireland A   Wales A 27 – 42 7,000[26]
15 November 2000   Ireland A   South Africa XV 28 – 11 2000 South Africa tour of Argentina, Britain and Ireland [27]
16 November 2006   Ireland A   Australia A 17 – 24 2006 Australia rugby union tour of Europe 6,500[28]
4 June 2010   Ireland Barbarian F.C.* 23 – 29 Friendly 25,600[29]
17 November 2012   Ireland XV   Fiji 53 – 0 Guinness Autumn International Series 17,126[30]
28 May 2015   Ireland Barbarian F.C.* 21 – 22 Friendly 16,111[31]
 *Neither match against the Barbarians was considered a full international.
 †An Ireland XV side played this match. Irish players were not awarded caps.[30]

Updated as of 22 April 2021.[24]

Rugby World Cup MatchesEdit

14 October 1999
17:00 WEST/GMT+1 (UTC+01)
Australia   55–19   United States
Try: Staniforth (2)
Latham
Whitaker
Foley
Burke
Larkham
Strauss
Con: Burke (5)
Roff
Pen: Burke
Report Try: Grobler
Con: Dalzell
Pen: Dalzell (4)
Thomond Park, Limerick
Attendance: 13,000
Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

Other sporting fixturesEdit

Thomond Park held the Irish heats of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games over the course of four days in June 2010.[32]

Football

At Thomond Park, Limerick F.C. played Shamrock Rovers in the League of Ireland Shield, BSC Young Boys in the 1960 European Cup and Torino in the 1971 European Cup Winners' Cup. From 2013 to 2015, Limerick F.C. played Airtricity League home fixtures at Thomond Park. They also have played Manchester City FC twice in friendlies in 1992 and 2012.[33]

The Republic of Ireland national football team played two international friendlies in Thomond during the construction of the Aviva Stadium. The first, on 12 August 2009 against Australia drew a crowd just above 19,000. Australia won 3–0. Ireland played and defeated South Africa 1–0 at Thomond on 8 September 2009 to a crowd of 11,300.[34]

Thomond hosted an International Champions Cup match between Internazionale and Celtic on 13 August 2016 with Internazionale winning 2–0.

Ireland International Football Matches
Date Home Score Opponent Competition Attendance
12 August 2009   Republic of Ireland 0–3   Australia Friendly 19,000[35]
8 September 2009   Republic of Ireland 2–1   South Africa Friendly 11,300[34]
Rugby League

On 5 November 2011, the stadium hosted its first Rugby league game when Ireland took on France.[36] On 9 November 2013, Thomond Park hosted Ireland's 2013 Rugby League World Cup Group A match with Australia.[37]

International Rugby League Matches
Date Home Score Opponent Competition Attendance
5 November 2011   Ireland 16–34   France Test match 3,100[36]
9 November 2013   Ireland 0–50   Australia 2013 Rugby League World Cup 5,021[37]

ConcertsEdit

AttendancesEdit

The highest pre-redevelopment official attendance in Thomond Park came in 1992 when a local derby in the All-Ireland League between clubs Shannon RFC and Garryowen FC saw an attendance of 18,000 people.[12] Munster's average league attendance for the 2013–14 Pro12 season was 12,334[38] Munster's average league attendance for the 2014–15 Pro12 season was 13,179, the third highest in the league.[39]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Thomond Park's official capacity is 25,600 but can be expanded up to 26,276 with temporary seating.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ "Ní rugbaí go Páirc Thuamhan!". smaointefanacha.blogspot.ie. 29 October 2013.
  2. ^ Ó Neachtain, Eoghan (1 January 2018). "Féasta iontach rugbaí romhainn arís agus na cúigí réidh chun catha". Tuairisc.ie (in Ga).
  3. ^ a b "Thomond Park Developments". Munster Rugby. 21 June 2007. Archived from the original on 2 July 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  4. ^ "History of the IRFU". Irish Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  5. ^ Melville, Nigel (21 January 2004). "Fingers get burned when the home fire is stoked in Munster". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Michael Corcoran: Top 10". RTÉ News. 21 May 2008.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Man arrested in connection with Dundalk robbery". 29 October 2002.
  8. ^ "Echoes of glory still strong". Irish Times. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Gatland must resist desire to change for the sake of it". Irish Independent. 24 March 1998. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012.
  10. ^ Fanning, Brendan (2 December 2001). "Ireland's Holland okay for Munster". Irish Independent.
  11. ^ a b "Home of victorious Munster to get €40m revamp". Irish Times. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  12. ^ a b "AIB All-Ireland League clicks into action this weekend". Limerick Leader. 25 October 2007. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Thomond Park to double in capacity". Irish Times. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  14. ^ Geraghty, Pat (21 June 2007). "Thomond Park Developments". Munster Rugby. Archived from the original on 2 July 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2007.
  15. ^ "Thomond Park set to be renamed". RTÉ News. 20 June 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2008.
  16. ^ European Rugby Cup : Thomond Park Name to Remain a Fixture in Europe
  17. ^ Mulqueen, Charlie; O'Dowd, Brendan (2015). The Story of Thomond Park: Where Miracles Happen. Cork: The Collins Press. ISBN 9781848892552.
  18. ^ "Thomond Park Stadium named best in the world". stadiadirectory.com. 7 August 2013. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  19. ^ a b "The Rugby International at Limerick, 1898" (PDF). Limerick City. The Old Limerick Journal. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Romania tour in Ireland/Scotland/Wales 2002 2002". espnscrum. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  21. ^ "Italy tour in Ireland/Scotland 2003 2003". espnscrum. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Canada tour in Ireland/Portugal/Scotland/Wales 2008 2008". espnscrum. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  23. ^ "Six Nations 1898". espnscrum. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  24. ^ a b "Team History Archive". Irish Rugby. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  25. ^ "SPAIN TOUR - Limerick, 8 September 1990". espnscrum. Retrieved 24 December 2021.
  26. ^ "Thomas inspires Welsh win". Irish Times. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  27. ^ "Convincing win erases some bitter memories". Irish Times. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  28. ^ "IRELAND 'A' 17 AUSTRALIA 'A' 24". Ulster Rugby. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  29. ^ "Ireland outfought by Baa Baas". espnscrum. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  30. ^ a b "Ireland XV 53-0 Fiji". BBC Sport. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  31. ^ "Schmidt's Ireland lose out to entertaining Barbarians in Limerick". Yahoo News. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  32. ^ a b Limerick prepares to host Special Olympics. RTÉ. 9 June 2010.
  33. ^ "Man City turn on the style". The Irish Times. 6 August 2012.
  34. ^ a b "Rep of Ireland 1-0 South Africa". BBC Sport. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  35. ^ "12.08.2009 at 15:00 Thomond Park". Soccer Scene. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  36. ^ a b "Ireland vs. France". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  37. ^ a b "Australia vs. Ireland". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  38. ^ "Home Attendance RaboDirect PRO12 13/14". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  39. ^ "Home Attendance RaboDirect PRO12 14/15". Retrieved 17 January 2016.

External linksEdit