Cup Final Pitch Gets Protection

  • Fri, Nov 24, 2006 @ 8:50

Two rugby matches scheduled for Lansdowne Road on Saturday week have been switched to alternative venues to protect the playing surface ahead of the FAI Cup final the following day.

Both Lansdowne and Wanderers agreed to an FAI request to play their respective AIL Division 1 and Division 3 games against Ballymena and Bruff away from Lansdowne Road - a venue they cohabit.

Derry City and St Patrick's Athletic meet in the domestic soccer showpiece on Sunday week and the FAI were keen to exercise all their powers to protect the Lansdowne surface.

"The Lansdowne players have agreed to put their game onto Lansdowne's back pitch which we are pleased about and I believe Wanderers are considering the matter," FAI chief executive John Delaney said yesterday lunchtime.

Indeed, Wanderers' honorary secretary Joe McKenna confirmed last night the club will now host Bruff at Merrion Road.

"The association is deeply appreciative of this gesture by Wanderers and Lansdowne," Delaney said last night.

"It is testimony to the excellent relationship that has existed between the association and the two clubs over the years."

He added: "It's life as it is, there are so many rugby matches played at this time of the year that there was bound to be a clash."

Some 5,000 Cup final tickets have already been sold although an FAI marketing push next week is expected to significantly boost that figure.

Close to 25,000 attended last year's Lansdowne final between Drogheda United and Cork City.

Team Pld Pts
Shamrock Rovers3679
Derry City3666
St Patricks Athletic3661
Sligo Rovers3649
Bohemian FC3646
Drogheda United3638
Finn Harps3620