Ravenhill to open with Leinster game

Published Monday, 10 February 2014
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Ulster Rugby have announced that Ravenhill Stadium will be officially opened in May ahead of their RaboDirect PRO12 game against Leinster in what will be a rematch of the first ever game played at the venue.

Ravenhill to open with Leinster game
Work has been going on at the stadium for over a year. (© Presseye)

A one hour, pre-match event will see a celebration of rugby in Ulster, with representatives from schools, clubs, referees, the women's game and disability rugby all participating to celebrate the new-look of the south Belfast facility on Friday 2 May.

The event will culminate in the cutting of a ribbon and the stadium being declared formally open.

Three new stands, funded by an investment by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure of almost £16m, have been built at the ground as part of the redevelopment.

Capacity has increased from 11,000 to 18,000 and the ground is now capable of hosting a Heineken Cup quarter-final and a RaboDirect PRO12 final.

The very first ever game played at Ravenhill was Ulster v Leinster on 12 January, 1924, which will add an element of symmetry to this May's celebrations.

The stadium is set to host the Heineken Cup quarter-final between Ulster and Saracens on 5 April.

Following that game further fit-out work will be carried out on the grandstand ahead of the official May opening.

Work on the new Nevin Spence Centre, an education and heritage centre, based in the new memorial end stand, a new community 3G pitch facility and other improvements will start in the summer.

Ulster Rugby chief executive, Shane Logan, said: "The new Ravenhill Stadium is a world class stadium and a state-of-the-art home for all of rugby in Ulster.

"We have some exciting plans for the opening and I have no doubt that it will truly be a once in a lifetime event for any Ulster Rugby fan."

Meanwhile, Ulster's Dan Tuohy could miss out on the Heineken Cup clash in April.

The second row is expected to be out for between six and eight weeks after he fractured a forearm in the Irish victory over Wales at the weekend.

Ulster have been in impressive form this season after topping their European Cup pool. They are also third in the league, seven points behind leaders Munster.

This Friday the province face Scarlets at Ravenhill in the RaboDirect PRO12.

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Anne moody in Cregagh Area wrote (288 days ago):
More considerate parking would be appreciated. Also would some so-called fans please refrain from urinating in public. This was witnessed in December right beside the entrance into the family stand by an 8yr old girl, who was over on holiday with her parents to attend the match. It happens quite frequently. Would they do it on their own doorstep?
con in belfast wrote (289 days ago):
@Margaret currie,. parking is dreadful.. no forethought given to this. Maybe they should open Cherryvale paying fields for parking maybe even make an entrance through. This could accomodate thousands of cars and bring in some much need revenue for the park.
Margaret Currie in Cregagh wrote (290 days ago):
I love the Rugby and fully support Ulster but can the supporters please be more considerate to the residents of the area when they are parking. Since the recent opening of the 2 stands the nature of parking is dreadful and will be even worse when the 3rd new stand is in operation soon. All we ask is consideration. Perhaps more could use the park and ride
Margaret Currie in Cregagh wrote (290 days ago):
I love the Rugby and fully support Ulster but can the supporters please be more considerate to the residents of the area when they are parking. Since the recent opening of the 2 stands the nature of parking is dreadful and will be even worse when the 3rd new stand is in operation soon. All we ask is consideration. Perhaps more could use the park and ride
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