Galway Sportsgrounds

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Galway Sportsground
The Sportsground
Galway Sportsgrounds - 2.jpg
Connacht vs Leinster at Galway Sportsgrounds
Location Galway
Coordinates 53°16′44″N 9°02′23″W / 53.2790°N 9.0397°W / 53.2790; -9.0397
Public transit Galway railway station
Owner The Galway Agricultural & Sports Society Ltd.
Capacity 8,100
Surface pitch (grass)
track (all-sand)
Opened 1927
Tenants
Irish Greyhound Board
Connacht Rugby

Galway Sportsground, also known as The Sportsground and the Galway Greyhound Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Galway, Ireland. It opened in 1927, with the playing of a soccer match and has been used to host Connacht Rugby matches and greyhound racing since that time.

It is currently used as a base by Connacht Rugby for training and hosting matches at all levels. Greyhound racing takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings.[1]

The stadium has been leased on a long term basis to the Irish Greyhound Board who run the greyhound meetings at the Stadium. It is co-leased to Connacht Rugby who use it as their home stadium to play rugby union matches in the Pro12 and European competitions.

Rugby Union[edit]

Up until 2011, the regular capacity of the Sportsground was 5,500. The stadium was modified and extended in 2011, and again in 2016, instigated by the success of Connacht Rugby.

  • Main Stand – has enclosed corporate facilities and covered terrace underneath
  • The Clan Terrace – a covered terrace on the clubhouse side of the ground
  • Covered Stand – a covered seated stand to the side of the main stand which holds 300 people
  • Uncovered Terracing – at the Bohermore and College Road ends of the ground

It is able to hold up to 8,100 people without temporary seating. The Sportsground recorded its record attendance on 19 November 2011, when a crowd of 9,120 watched Connacht take on Toulouse in the team's first ever Heineken Cup match at home.

Renovations since 2011[edit]

Connacht Rugby first participated in European Rugby's blue ribbon competition, the European Rugby Champions Cup (known before the 2014–15 season as the Heineken Cup), in season 2011–12. This spurred a new phase of development at the Sportsground to extend formal capacity to 7,500 supporters.[2] The existing Clubhouse terrace was knocked down to be replaced by the new covered "Clan Terrace". This terrace primarily houses season ticket holders. Ancillary work was also undertaken behind the terrace which saw the construction of a new bar (The Clan Bar), food outlets and restroom facilities on the Clubhouse side of the ground. A temporary covered and seated "West Stand", adjacent to the existing main stand was also erected for the season.[2] This raft of improvements came on the back of a series of development which the Irish Rugby Football Union to fund had helped in the preceding years, such as a new playing surface, a new Clubhouse and floodlighting, while a new gymnasium had been built in 2008.

In 2011 planning permission was granted to redevelop the Clan Terrace by building a seated tier above the terrace on the Clubhouse side of the ground, plans. So far this has not been developed.[3]

In the summer of 2016, work was completed on an additional seated and covered stand which can hold 300 people. The stand, situated next to the Main Stand, increased the ground's regular capacity to 8,100.[4]

Facilities[edit]

The facilities include a grandstand restaurant, fast food facilities, a number of bars.

Greyhound Racing[edit]

Racing takes place every Friday and Saturday evening.[5] Distances are 350, 525, 550, and 575 yards.[6] The feature competition at the track is the Champion Bitch Stake.[7]

History[edit]

The Galway Greyhound Company was established in 1932 but it took a further three years for the first greyhound racing to take place at the west coast venue on the west side of the Lough Atalia. The opening night was during 1935.

By 1978 the stadium required a facelift and the management decided that improvements could only be completed with the closure of the greyhound track. Therefore in 1978 a new stand with bars and tote facilities was built and the circuit itself was re-laid with increased cambers. The grand re-opening was on 25 May 1979 with the modernisation costing over £500,000. In 2003 the track was subject to a major renovation project that cost the Bord na gCon €6m.

Other Sports[edit]

It has occasionally hosted Gaelic games fixtures, most notably the 1932 All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final and the 1942 Galway County Hurling Final.

When Terryland Park was being renovated in 1993 Galway United played at the Sportsgrounds for the first part of that season. It also hosted Galway's first game in European competition in the 1985–86 European Cup Winners' Cup.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Galway Greyhound Stadium". Irish Greyhound Board. 
  2. ^ a b "Artist's Impression of the Sportsground Redevelopments". Connacht Rugby. Connacht Catch-Up. 13 July 2011. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "2nd Phase Connacht Branch Stadium Development". 3D Graphic House. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "A new seated stand is in place at the Sportsground for Connacht's upcoming season". The42. 31 August 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "Galway Greyhound Stadium". Irish Greyhound Board. 
  6. ^ "Galway". Greyhound Data. 
  7. ^ "Feature Events" (PDF). Irish Greyhound Board.