MUNSTER and Leinster could be set to play a competitive game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The home of Cork GAA is currently out of action for matches due to resurfacing work on the pitch at the stadium that was only reopened in 2017 after being revamped. However, the Irish Examiner has reported that a Guinness PRO14 clash between Ireland's top rugby sides could be held in the Páirc on December 28.
Moving the match from Thomond Park to Leeside would be lucrative for the local economy, while also preempting any future Heineken Cup knockout games in the GAA venue.
Teams involved in the latter stages of European competition may nominate grounds - though not their own - for home semi-finals within their own country. Such matches have previously been held outside the province in Dublin but the Páirc's 45,000 capacity makes it ideal.
If negotiations are successful the derby would be worth €300,000 to the Cork County Board, according to the Irish Examiner.
This would help offset the debt from the costly redevelopment of the Páirc. The idea of playing rugby at the GAA venue is a decisive one, despite the general goodwill around the Liam Miller charity soccer game last September.
The Examiner reports:
"It is understood discussions have been progressing between Munster Rugby and the commercial board of Páirc Ui Chaoimh towards facilitating the game, which would be a first application of the GAA decision to allow county grounds to be opened in exceptional cases to other sports.
"Last February, at GAA Congress in Wexford, that decision was taken, in part, because of the furore over last summer’s Liam Miller charity soccer game, also played at Páirc Ui Chaoimh.
"On that occasion, GAA officials pointed to the Association’s own rules as barring such games, but public pressure mounted to the point where the game was played and the stadium hosted a capacity crowd. Now, under the change in rules last February, the GAA’s Central Council has the power to open county grounds “in exceptional circumstances” for “activities other than those controlled by the association”."