Ireland's 2023 Rugby World Cup bid: Ravenhill, Casement and Celtic Park, Derry among 12 stadia included in bid to host tournament
Casement Park, Kingspan Stadium and Celtic Park have been all been included in the list of proposed stadia for Ireland's bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.
Twelve venues have been included in the proposal which was formally introduced into the 'candidate stage' at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
The number of stadia could be reduced by as many as four when the tournament takes place and, with South Africa and France also in the running, a decision is due one year from now.
Attending in Dublin, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said recent Northern Ireland's recent history of hosting major events makes it an ideal part of the bid.
"The 2023 Rugby World Cup bid is a bid for all the people of Ireland and the Executive will make every effort to make it a winning bid," he said. "We have a proven track record of hosting major global events including the G8, Giro d'Italia, MTV Music Awards, the World Police and Fire Games, the Clipper round the World Yacht Race and the Irish Open Golf Championship. "
GAA grounds will make up the backbone with eight venues listed alongside the Aviva Stadium, Thomond Park, Ravenhill and the RDS.
Croke Park (Dublin), Pairc Ui Chaoimh (Cork), Casement Park (Belfast), Fitzgerald Stadium (Kerry), Pearse Stadium (Galway), McHale Park (Mayo), Nolwlan Park (Kilkenny) and Celtic Park (Derry) are all part of the Board's proposal.
Bid Chairman Dick Spring said he is confident of a successful bid.
"We believe Ireland is ready to stage a World Cup like no other. A tournament that will capture the imagination of the world," he said.
Northern Ireland Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA stressed the level of cooperation behind the bid.
He said: "To bring the Rugby World Cup 2023 to our shores would be a great sporting achievement. Our bid not only has the support of both governments, the rugby and sporting fraternity are behind it and committed to seeing it through from this exciting and important stage to a successful hosting of the tournament in seven years' time.
"We have experience in delivering major events and next year we will have the opportunity to host the Women's Rugby World Cup with the play-off games and Finals set to be played at Queen's University and the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. This will further demonstrate our ability to host major sports events as well as being a huge boost for sport."
Ballymena movie actor Liam Neeson has narrated a video entitled "Ready For The World" that the 2023 World Cup bid team unveiled today at the Aviva Stadium.
"Taken" star Neeson has voiced the video free of charge, lending his celebrity weight to Ireland's increasingly high-profile bid to stage rugby's global contest in seven years' time.
An Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) spokesman confirmed that actor Neeson had waived any potential fee for the promotional video, in a clear early boost to Ireland's bid.
Ireland revealed detailed logistics and plans for their £100million bid a press conference today (Tuesday), outlining the 12 potential venues and anticipated tourism and financial benefits of hosting the competition.
Ireland are battling it out with South Africa and France for the chance to stage the World Cup in seven years' time.
The IRFU has joined forces with the two Irish governments to build a bid that will run to at least £100million.
Global governing body World Rugby will decide the 2023 competition's destination in November 2017 - and Ireland are comfortably the first of the three competing nations to map out their detailed hosting plans.
Belfast Telegraph Digital