Munster have officially opened their brand new High Performance Centre at the University of Limerick as the province prepares to relocate to a new singular training base in Castletroy.
The new training centre will see the Munster senior team, as well as the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy, train in Limerick with the province now basing all of their players, coaches and staff at the one facility at UL.
Munster had previously trained and operated out of two locations in Limerick and Cork respectively, but Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald is now hoping that the move will lead Munster into a new chapter in the province’s rich history.
“The High Performance Centre is a symbol of Munster’s ambition on and off the field,” Fitzgerald told the Limerick Leader.
“In continuing to work with the University of Limerick and base our squad here we have access to Ireland’s leading Sports Campus and centre of excellence.
“All requirements are more than catered for in this fit for purpose facility and it is a hugely exciting time for the province with everyone looking forward to this new era for Munster Rugby.”
The new centre cost Munster €9.5 million with construction beginning in September 2015. The new facility includes an extensive gym, medical and physiotherapy treatment rooms, offices, changing rooms, an analysis suite, meeting rooms and a 65-seat auditorium.
Former Munster and Ireland flanker David Wallace believes that it will be very beneficial to the province going forward.
“To have everything and everybody working together on a regular basis under the one roof will be a massive bonus – not having the facility has hurt the province in the past,” Wallace told The42.ie in May.
Meanwhile, Munster tam manager Niall O’Donovan told the club’s website that the new centre will hopefully lead to improvements in on-field performance and off-field relationships between players.
“The idea of the new High Performance Centre is to get players training together more than twice a week,” said O’Donovan.
“It had been working for us to a certain degree but when you are up against the standard of teams that you have nowadays, we have to see where we can make any adjustments to improve on-field performances.
“I believe it will help the group dynamic further with players spending more time together, the competitive edge will be enhanced and will add to training sessions. The time spent on commuting will be reduced significantly with a more productive workload achievable during those previously factored in travel times.
“The main reason for locating to one base is to get the squad training together and where they live beyond that really doesn’t matter similar to other sports teams. Schedules will be mindful of players who are still based outside of Limerick, and no different to current practice, each week’s schedule will differ depending on when and where we are playing.”
The centre, located adjacent to the existing UL Arena, is part of an overall €15m construction designed by architect David Lennon of Reddy Architects & Urbanism.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena