“Everything about it would be positive.”
Former GAA President Sean Kelly believes the GAA would be happy for a British and Irish Lions test to be played at Croke Park.
There has been suggestions in recent days that the Lions’ test series with South Africa could be relocated to the UK and Ireland if fans are unable to travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the BBC, the Lions’ board is discussing the prospect of playing games in Edinburgh, Cardiff, London and Dublin.
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) January 2, 2021
Potential for Croke Park to host Lions matches.
While no decision has been made as of yet regarding the location of the test series, the former GAA president thinks the Lions would present a great opportunity for Croke Park.
“It would make complete sense,” Kelly told the Irish Mirror.
“In actual fact, I have said that once their commitments to the Aviva are over, that the bigger games in rugby, especially against the likes of England and France, that Croke Park should do a deal with the rugby union.
“If the Lions tour is to go ahead in this part of the world, wouldn’t it be fantastic to have it at Croke Park.”
The last time Croke Park played host to a rugby match was in 2010, when Ireland narrowly lost to Scotland in the Six Nations Championship.
However, Kelly was confident that the GAA would welcome rugby back to Croke Park for the first time in more than a decade.
“I think they would actually [welcome it], overall. It would be unique and special. The Lions probably goes beyond rugby in many respects because of the nature of it.
“But I see the money as secondary to the prestige and the message it sends out, all-island approach to sport, inclusivity of sports. Everything about it would be positive. It’d be great,” Kelly said.
The All-Ireland football and hurling finals could prove to be a major stumbling block for a possible Lions test at Croke Park, with both finals set to be played in July, the same month the Lions are due to play South Africa.
Kelly, however, was confident that any logistical problems could be quickly sorted by the GAA HQ.
“That’s not a problem at all, it’s only a problem to be overcome. Peter McKenna [Croke Park stadium director] and his crew have shown tremendous ability to be able to stage games and concerts and events of all sorts without any difficulty.
“They do a great job and I’m sure they’d only be delighted to have that challenge and then meet it,” Kelly commented.