Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thomond Park

Since I have a keen interest in rugby and I have attended quite a few Munster matches in Thomond I decided to look further into the history of the stadium. Thomond Park was first opened in 1940, with a capacity of roughly 18'000. The most historic game that was played in the stadium was in 1978 when Munster were victorious over the All Blacks with a final score of 12-0.


In 2007 work began on the new stadium. There was a lot of controversy over whether or not the stadium would be renamed in a sponsorship deal, but thankfully it was decided in February 2008 it was announced that Thomond Park would keep its name. The stadium was finished and reopened in Autumn 2008, with a capacity of 25,630 people. The official opening on 18th November 2008 saw Munster play the All Blacks, but unfortunately Munster lost 18-16. I had the luck to get a ticket for that extraordinary game that kept the crowd entertained before, during and after the game. They even went to the extent of getting two members of the Irish Air-Corps to ab-sail from a helicopter to deliver the game ball.


The thing that makes Thomond Park so famous is the unique and absolute silence around the stadium when a player, be it the home or away team, goes to take a place kick for goal. In every other stadium around the world, to the general knowledge, the supporters of the opposite team will jeer to try put off the kicker. This just does not happen in Thomond. It is done for respect and also the complete silence can sometimes be off putting to an away kicker.

Before and during the match you will hear the crowd singing either "Stand Up And Fight" or "The Fields Of Athenry". Along the bottom of the stands are large flags stating the Munster sayings, including: "Stand Up And Fight" , " Go On Bull, Tis Your Field" and "To The Brave And Faithful, Nothing Is Impossible".

The stadium is also used for concerts and soccer matchs. Some of the big names to perform there include: Rod Stewart, P!nk, JLS, Elton John and The Cranberries.

Thomand Park is in my opinion the best place to watch a match, due to the atmosphere, the crowd who are only there to have the laugh and the generally entertaining matches.

Kevin Hayes

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