Northern Ireland news

Campaign to include Derry GAA ground in 2023 Rugby World Cup bid

Derry’s Celtic Park GAA ground 
Seamus McKinney

A campaign has been launched to have Derry’s Celtic Park GAA ground included in Ireland’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Ireland is bidding against South Africa, France and Italy to host the competition, one of the world's biggest sporting events.

It is expected that the Ireland bid will include three stadiums in Dublin, two in Belfast and Limerick and one each in Cork, Galway, Thurles, Killarney and Castlebar.

However, a group of sports enthusiasts have questioned why Derry has not been included as Ireland’s fourth largest city.

A spokesman of the “Derry For 2023” group, Steve Bradley, said the city has everything needed to host group games.

He said one of the venues from Dublin, Belfast or Limerick could be switched to Derry with no area losing out.

“There are three simple reasons why Derry should be included. It would be good for Ireland’s bid, good for the north west and good for rugby,” he said.

Mr Bradley said Derry had shown through the All Ireland Fleadh, the annual Hallowe’en carnival and other attractions that it can host major events.

“In Celtic Park we have a city-centre stadium capable of hosting group-stage games which would cost less to upgrade than some of the other GAA grounds proposed,” he added.

A petition can be signed at or or on Twitter at @DerryFor2023.

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