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Casement Park

Casement Park
Páirc Mhic Easmainn
Main Stand
Location Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Coordinates
Public transit Balmoral railway station
Owner Antrim GAA
Capacity 32,600 (40,000 after redevelopment)
Field size 145 x 90 m
Construction
Opened 1953
Renovated 2000
2014-16 (in progress)
Pitch and terracing at Casement Park

Casement Park (Irish: Páirc Mhic Asmaint) is the principal Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in Belfast, Northern Ireland, home to the Antrim football and hurling teams. Located on the Andersonstown Road in the west of the city, and named after the Republican revolutionary Sir Roger Casement (1864-1916), the ground has a capacity of 32,600.[1]

Casement Park, one of the largest stadia in Ulster, opened in June 1953, with Armagh Harps defeating St John’s of Antrim in the final of the inaugural Ulster Senior Club Football Championship.[2] The newly opened Casement Park hosted the Ulster Championship final less than a month later, which saw Armagh overcome reigning All-Ireland champions Cavan.

In all, Casement Park has hosted eight Ulster football finals. However, the Antrim ground has not held the provincial showpiece since 1971, with St. Tiernach's Park in Clones hosting the final every year since except between 2004 and 2006 when it was moved to Croke Park such was the demand for tickets. A major facelift of the stadium took place in 2000, a move which saw more championship games played at Casement Park. In 2006, floodlights were added which allowed hurling and football to be played in the evening.

Contents

  • Redevelopment 1
  • 2006 controversy 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

Redevelopment

In 2006, proposals were raised to build a new multi-purpose stadium on the site of the old Maze prison near Lisburn, which was intended to host soccer, rugby union and Gaelic games. However, opposition to the idea led to it being dropped in favour of a new venue in the Sydenham area of East Belfast. This led to Ulster GAA, which was one of the partners in the Maze project, to pull out in favour of remaining at Casement Park.[3]

In 2011, the Northern Ireland Executive announced that it had granted £138m for various stadium redevelopment projects throughout Northern Ireland. Ulster GAA would receive £61.4m of this, which was to be used to redevelop Casement Park into a 40,000 all-seated stadium with £15 million of partnership investment from the Central Council of the GAA, making it the largest stadium in Ulster.[4]

In early 2012 it was announced that the redevelopment work would start at the end of 2013; this was expected to last two years with a view to having the new stadium open by September 2015. It was expected that, after its completion, Ulster GAA would move its headquarters from St Tiernach's Park in Clones to Casement Park,[5] which would then have a seating capacity of about 40,000.[6]

2006 controversy

A decision in 2006 by the Antrim County Board to permit the use of Casement Park to host a Republican rally in commemoration of the deaths of Provisional IRA and INLA prisoners in the 1981 hunger strike drew criticisms from unionists.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ http://antrim.gaa.ie/uploads/documents/AntrimStrategy.pdf Antrim GAA - Strategic Plan 2006 - 2011
  2. ^ "If you don't like the football, there's always Celtic under the stand!". Gaelic Life. 16 May 2008. 
  3. ^ Plans for £128m Belfast stadium unveiled - The Independent, 25 March 2009
  4. ^ Stadiums fit for our heroes on way at last - Belfast Telegraph, 11 March 2011
  5. ^ Ulster Council rubber-stamps Casement Park stadium move - BBC News, 17 February 2012
  6. ^ McCrory, Marie Louise (4 September 2012). "Dream team for stadium redesign". The Irish News. 
  7. ^ Stadium rally 'politicised sport'
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