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Irish Independent Park

Irish Independent Park (formerly Musgrave Park) is the Cork home of Munster Rugby and is also home to two of the All Ireland League Senior Club sides, Dolphin RFC and Sundays Well RFC. A €3.2m investment by Munster Rugby saw major redevelopment works take place from June 2014 to January 2015. Stadium advancements included a new West Stand seating 3,500 - increasing the overall capacity of the venue to 9,500 - while the East Terrace was also covered from endline to endline.

The stadium is situated between Tramore Road and Pearse Road in Ballyphehane. Access is possible from both roads and entrances are more commonly known as the Sundays Well entrance (Tramore Rd.) servicing the South East terraces, and the Dolphin entrance (Pearse Rd.) servicing the North West terraces and the West stand.

Irish Independent Park History by former Munster Branch Hon. Sec. Frank Byford

The ground was purchased by the Munster Branch I.R.F.U. in 1938, when the Ballyphehane area of Cork City, was still open country. The onset of the Second World a year later prevented the immediate development of the ground, but it was possible to build a small pavilion and to put in place two playing pitches. The Dolphin and Sunday's Well clubs who at that time were having great difficulties in their grounds were installed as tenants. The grounds were named after the late Jimmy Musgrave who had been prominent in both Munster and Irish rugby for many years.

One of the driving forces behind the setting up of the ground was the then Honorary Secretary of the Branch T.W.O'Brien, Sunday November 10th, 1940 saw the opening of the ground, which was opened by the Lord Mayor of Cork Alderman William Desmond and was then followed by a charity match in aid of the Marsh Building fund between the Munster Branch President's (Louis Daly) XV and the Branch Honorary Secretary (Tommy O'Brien) XV.

During the war the Cork Corporation stored turf on the 'back pitch' this mode of heat being so important to the people during those years. Eventually it was decided to provide a stand - it was a pity that when it was been built that it was erected on such lofty stilts. It was usually closed on match days, but on the odd occasion that it was opened to the public, such as a visit of a touring side or an interprovincial match it was usually half full. Eventually it was demolished and a structure almost the full length of the pitch installed, the timber seating came from the old West Stand in Lansdowne Road. The venue has come a long way since those far off days.

On the field some of the highlights was the day that Munster held the mighty All-Blacks, the visitors gaining a share of the spoils with an injury time penalty, while the province have registered a hat-trick of wins over the Wallabies at the venue, their last success came in 1992 when the Australians were World Champions. Other events that have been staged at the ground included major Pipe Band competitions as well as a European Cup soccer match.

Flights to Cork

Airlines such as Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, BMI Baby, Ryanair and more, service scheduled flights to and from Cork airport. The airport is conveniently located just 8 kilometres from Cork City Centre and 15 minutes from Irish Independent Park. Public bus services operate to and from the City to the airport. There is a Taxi rank located outside the main terminal building. The cost from Cork Airport to the City Centre or Irish Independent Park is between € 10.00 and € 15.00 approximately.

More information on Cork Airport can be found here.

Train to Cork

Iarnroid Eireann, Ireland's National train company operates from Cork's Kent train station and is located on the lower Glanmire Road, 10 minutes walk from the city bus station. Connections to all major rail-linked towns and cities can be made from Kent Station.

More details on the Irish rail service can be found here.

Bus to Cork and Irish Independent Park

Bus Eireann provide a nationwide network and service to Cork. The Cork city bus station is located at Parnell Place. Irish Independent Park is located between Pearse Rd. and Tramore Road in Ballyphehane, Cork and the number 3 bus operates from Patrick St. (around the corner from Parnell Place) to Ballyphehane. The city bus-stop is located outside Brown Thomas and there is a bus-stop right outside the Dolphin entrance of Irish Independent Park on Pearse Rd.

Further timings and information can be found here.

Driving to Cork and Irish Independent Park

Reaching Cork by car is relatively straightforward as the road system connects all of the large cities. Main roads serving the city include the N8 from Dublin, N25 from Waterford, N20 from Limerick, N22 from Killarney and the N71 from West Cork. Musgrave Park is situated in Ballyphehane and is accessible from the South Ring Rd. or through the city.

There is a park and ride facility in operation for Munster matches in the Black Ash Park and Ride, located off the South City Link Rd. and ten minutes walk from the stadium. Please keep an eye on the website for specific match times and prices in the run-up to a Munster home game.

Irish Independent Park Stats

• The works were carried out between June 2014 to January 2015 by BAM.

• The new stand is 100m long and sits neatly between existing flood lighting towers.

• The new West Stand and roof works to existing East Terrace, were constructed without access onto the playing surface.

• The top of West Stand is approx. 14m above pitch level - the same height as 3 stacked double decker buses.

• 150 tonnes of structural steelwork used

• 2,000m3 of concrete used in new stand foundations and ground floor.

• Approximately 3,500 m2 of cladding used in the roofs and elevations of both stands - half the size of a rugby pitch!

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