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#COYBIB Exclusive – RDS Redevelopment Plans
- Updated: March 10, 2013
#COYBIB is delighted to exclusively reveal the plans for the redevelopment of the RDS arena.
The multipurpose arena first opened its doors to Leinster rugby in 2005, when the boys in blue took on and defeated Cardiff Blues 34 – 15 in October of that year.
It was an experiment to find a new home for Leinster, as the beloved but too small stadium of Donnybrook had become outgrown by the swelling Leinster support.
Such was the success of the move, that Leinster officially upped sticks and moved to the RDS on a permanent basis for the 2007/08 season, signing a 20 year lease with the society, keeping Leinster as tenants until 2027.
However, it has long been established that the excellent relationship between the two parties led to a desire to form a more long term, permanent arrangement, with Leinster CEO Mick Dawson stating that “plans had been drawn up” for a large scale redevelopment of the ground soon after Leinsters arrival, and as recently as April 2012, RDS CEO Michael Duffy added to the speculation, stating that the RDS seeked to expand the stadium to a 23,000 all seater capacity arena, he confirmed that “There are a number of parties that we’re engaged with at the moment, but the process still has some time to run” regarding the sale of the naming rights of the arena in order to help fund the €17 million proposed development.
Since Leinsters arrival, the arena has gone under some significant changes, with a new playing surface being laid, flood lights installed, the knocking down and rebuilding of the Grand Stand, later to enjoy the addition of a roof and boosting capacity to 18,500 with large scale removable North and South stands, enabling the accommodation of the arenas original use as an equestrian venue, hosting the Dublin Horse Show, an annual event dating back to 1864.
The new design looks to complement the existing structures of the RDS, with the panelling design of the exterior, and the retention of the existing Grand Stand, the new Anglesea stand compliments this in design, but with an above tier accommodating corporate boxes and bar and refreshment facilities being incorporated into the new stand.
The other main development sees the corners of the stadium being filled in with advantageous viewing and screens being located above these parts of the stand.
Whilst the design looks very impressive, some supporters may be left slightly underwhelmed, most notably for the lack of a terracing area, the pit containing the most ultra Leinster supporters, and from where most chants and noise often originates.
Another notable omission is the lack of roofing extending above the North and South portion of the stadium, despite these stands presumably remaining removable, it would have been nice to have some shelter from the rain!
All in all though, I would imagine most Leinster supporters to be excited by this development in what is a fine looking arena and finally a proud home for Leinster with the best facilities and sizeable enough to accommodate the growing fan base.
Exciting times and we look forward to an official announcement from the branch!