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Aviva Stadium - Introduction
The Aviva Stadium, which was completed in April 2010, is the home for the Republic of Ireland international football team. Based on the site of the old Lansdowne Road football ground, Dublin, the new stadium seats 50,000 soccer and rugby fans. The stadium also includes a number of premium seats and 50 corporate boxes. Built for an estimated (in 2004) cost of €345 million it also acts as the home for Irish international rugby. The Aviva Stadium project was managed by the New Stadium Limited (formerly Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company) - FAI & IRFU.
First Football Matches at Aviva Stadium
The first soccer match played at the Aviva Stadium was between an Airtricity League XI and Manchester United on 4th August 2010. Manchester United, featuring Wayne Rooney, John O'Shea, Michael Owen, Dimitar Berbatov and new signing Hernadez, won easily 7-1. South Korea's Park Ji-Sung notched the first goal ever scored at the Aviva Stadium.
The first international football match at the Aviva was between Republic of Ireland and Argentina on Wednesday 11th August 2010. The occasion was also marked by Irish captain Robbie Keane winning his 100th international cap. Unfortunately for Keane and the Irish, Ireland lost its' inaugural match at the new ground by one goal to nil with Angel Di Maria scoring the first ever goal at the Aviva Stadium.
The first rugby match played at the Aviva Stadium was between a Leinster & Ulster selection and a Connacht & Munster selection on Saturday the 7th August 2010. Leinster & Ulster won the match 68-0. Dungannon winger Craig Gilroy created history by scoring the first ever try at the Aviva Stadium. Leinster and Ulster contested the first (1876) and last (2006) representative matches at the old Lansdowne Road stadium. One very interested spectator at the match was avid Manchester United fan David Kiberd (pictured below) on that splendid August evening.
First Competitive Football Match at the Aviva Stadium
The first competitive match held at the Aviva Stadium was a Euro 2012 qualifier between Ireland and football minnows Andorra on 7th September 2012. It was the second qualification match for the Irish in Group B and followed a 0-1 away win against Armenia in the first round of qualifiers. The Irish went on to qualify for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.
Naming Rights for the New Stadium
In a historical departure the naming rights of the new Lansdowne Road stadium were sold to Hibernian Aviva insurance company. At that time Hibernian Aviva was Ireland's largest insurance company with in excess of 1.2 million customers. In a contract signed on 19th February 2009 the insurance company agreed to pay a reported €44 million over a ten year period to the FAI and the IRFU. It was also reported that the company had an option to extend the sponsorship of Aviva Stadium for a further five years. The value of follow-on five years had not been disclosed. The FAI committed to direct the sponsorship money towards the grassroots of soccer in Ireland.
Aviva Stadium - Ireland's First UEFA Elite Stadium
Aviva Stadium will become the first soccer ground in Ireland to meet UEFA's elite stadium criteria. Those criteria are as follows:
Design and Structure of the Aviva Stadium
Inside the Aviva Stadium
The original Lansdowne Road football ground was completely demolished before the construction of the new Aviva Stadium commenced. Work on the new stadium began in earnest in March 2007.
When completed the Aviva Stadium will have an all seating capacity of 50,000 fans. In a nod to Irish climatic conditions all seats will be under a single curvilinear shaped roof that does not extend over the football pitch.
The east, west and south stands consist of four tiers. The top and bottom tiers will contain the majority of the soccer and rugby fans.
The North stand of the Aviva Stadium will have a single low level tier due to the proximity of domestic residences at that end of the ground. Ten thousand premium seats and 1,300 corporate boxes are accommodated in the second and third tiers of the stadium.
In order to optimise the redevelopment the original pitch was realigned and the two pitches behind the old Lansdowne Road ground were merged into one and reoriented. A new access point to the existing DART station was also constructed. The new Aviva Stadium will also include the following features:
Irish Football Grounds - Dublin Soccer Pitches
Aviva Stadium - Dalymount Park - Lansdowne Road - Tallaght Stadium