IRFU & GAA Enter Talks On 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The Irish Rugby Football Union has confirmed that it has entered into preliminary discussions with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in relation to the availability of GAA grounds, as part of a possible Irish bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Acknowledging that any future bid by the IRFU would be heavily dependent on both Government and GAA support, the IRFU state that they will understand and fully respect any GAA decision made when their response is delivered, in due course.

The number of stadia required for any future bid for this tournament has not as yet been decided, but a key element of future planning would be to first establish the number of locations and venues available, before a feasibility study could be undertaken, thus determining Ireland’s capacity to host such a tournament.

The Rugby World Cup in New Zealand showed what a country of four million people could achieve, so an overall Irish bid is something that should be discussed and I believe every citizen is very aware of the huge benefits from both a social and economic perspective, that could be achieved from hosting the third largest sporting event on the globe, especially in terms of attracting visitors and showcasing Ireland’s global potential, ” stated Mr Philip Browne, IRFU Chief Executive.

In Kerry and West Cork for the first two decades of the GAA, rugby and not Gaelic football was observed, by many, as the county’s pre-eminent sport. The word Caid (Word meaning ‘Bulls Scrotum.’) originally referred to the ball, an egg-shaped object, which was in early use. It was made out of animal skin, with a natural bladder inside. Indeed this traditional game of ‘Caid,’ publically referred to as ‘rough and tumble,‘ was popular with peasantry particularly from these areas, throughout the nineteenth century.  As late as 1885 a renowned team from Ballymacelligott were issuing regular challenges for matches with many parishes here in Munster, under the two basic forms of the game, Cross-country Caid and Field Caid, the former often played & decided by Irish parish boundaries.

So will that ‘Hallowed Ground,’ that is Semple’s Field here in Thurles the ‘European Town of Sport 2012,’ play host to a game of ‘rough and tumble,‘ in 2023?

I believe so. We have come a long way from the days when the 1527 Statutes of Galway, banned ‘hokie,’ the hurling of a little ball with sticks on a Sunday & the Sunday Observance Act of 1695, which later imposed a fine of one shilling for anyone found playing sport on a Sunday, latter law which by the way was not repealed until, yes, 1962.

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