Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Groundbreaking new Aviva Stadium finally unveiled

Irish football legends Packie Bonner (right) and Ray Houghton chat in the new Aviva Stadium (formerly Lansdowne Road) as they take a tour of the grounds as part of the stadium’s official opening

Dublin's new Aviva Stadium was officially opened by Taoiseach Brian Cowen yesterday afternoon during a special function attended by 1,500 people.

The stadium, which replaces the much-loved Lansdowne Road ground, will be the new home of international soccer and rugby teams in Ireland.

The project is a joint venture between the FAI and the IRFU, with a substantial input from the Irish government.

Everything from the green and white colour scheme throughout the stands, pitch and interior is evidence of the extensive planning involved.

The maze of corridors and the spotlessly clean arena are evidence of just how modern the stadium now is.

The pitch is as impressive as it is vast and even those who aren't sports fanatics will appreciate the experience of a visit.

Although the changing rooms have often been considered a no-go area, those availing of a tour of the ground can see where their favourite athletes will be preparing for various matches.

Criticism over the shiny 50,000-seater's capacity has given way to praise for the |impressive addition it makes to the Dublin skyline.

At €410m, it represents one |of the most expensive structures in the State's history.

Fans will have to wait until July 31 before a ball is kicked |on the new sod, when a novel inter-provincial clash takes place between a Leinster-Ulster side and team of Munster-Connacht players.

The first soccer match will be between Ireland and Argentina on August 11.

Meanwhile, the stadium's sponsor Aviva has revealed its plans to celebrate the World Cup with two events.

On June 19, it hopes to attract 10,000 people to the stadium for a range of entertainment that has yet to be finalised.

Then, on July 11, the day of the World Cup final, fans will be treated to a unique big-screen showing of the match.

It should be a night to remember for football fans.

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