Irish Independent Park
Musgrave Park stands prior to renovation, September 2013
|Public transit||Cork railway station|
Pearse Road / O'Growney Crescent bus stop
|Owner||Irish Rugby Football Union|
|Surface||Artificial turf |
|Opened||Original: 1940 |
After redevelopment: 2015
Sundays Well RFC
Musgrave Park, referred to as Irish Independent Park for sponsorship reasons, is a rugby football stadium in the city of Cork, Ireland. The ground is situated on Pearse Road in Ballyphehane. The ground was originally named after Jimmy Musgrave, a past-president of the Irish Rugby Football Union, with naming rights later sold to Independent News & Media in 2014. Owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), it is primarily used by Dolphin RFC, Sundays Well RFC, and Munster Rugby.
The ground was first purchased by the Munster Branch of the IRFU in the late 1930s, and in use by the early 1940s. Named for Jimmy Musgrave, a past-president of the IRFU, this early ground incorporated a small pavilion between two pitches. Terracing and seating were later added. Dolphin and Sunday's Well rugby clubs were tenants from the outset, though the ground also sometimes hosted provincial and international games. The latter included a number of notable Munster Rugby performances against touring international teams, including Australia (in 1967), the All Blacks (in 1973), and Australia (in 1992) when the then world-champions were defeated at the ground.
By the early 21st century, the ground consisted of four terraces, one stand, three tribunes, a jogging track, and two VIP stands on the west side. This configuration provided a seating capacity of 3,450, with terracing giving a total capacity of approximately 9,000.
It was announced in March 2010 that a new all-seated west stand, would bring capacity to over 12,500, however by February 2011 it was reported that this work would not go ahead - due to difficulty raising funding. Instead a 4,000 seat temporary stand was erected in the summer of 2011. Later in 2011 the old seated west stand was demolished and replaced by a temporary structure, giving an overall capacity of 10,000 with 4,000 seats.
In March 2013 it was announced that a new permanent 3,300 seated west stand would be built. It would incorporate changing, medical, media and function rooms. The east terrace would also have a roof added as part of this development. To fund this development a 1.1 acre strip of land to the east of the site was made available for sale. When complete, the development would provide a ground capacity of 10,000 in total, phasing in from a capacity of approximately 8,000 from the initial reopening in January 2015. This EUR3.2m investment and work took place between June 2014 and January 2015, and included a new west stand seating 3,500, with the east terrace being covered from endline to endline.
Following a naming-rights deal with Independent News & Media, upon the planned reopening in early 2015, the ground was to be referred to as Irish Independent Park.
The stadium hosts some of Munster Rugby's home fixtures. However Thomond Park, Limerick is the venue for all Heineken Cup games. The ground also hosts some smaller Pro14 games and pre-season friendlies - including occasionally by Ireland A (Wolfhounds) teams.
The stadium also hosts locally important games - such as finals for amateur cup competitions and schools rugby.
In September 1991 League of Ireland club Cork City F.C. played a league game at Musgrave Park against Shamrock Rovers and the following Wednesday Cork City drew 1-1 with FC Bayern Munich in a UEFA Cup game played at the ground.
Other events also take place at the venue, with for example a concert by Il Divo in June 2014, and a series of gigs by George Ezra, The Coronas, Liam Gallagher, Lauryn Hill and others during June 2019.
In keeping with safety regulations for the new development, the full capacity of the stadium (10000) will be introduced on a phase by phase basis with 8,200 the maximum capacity permitted for tonight's game
You'd have been forgiven in Cork tonight for thinking that this was the only game of importance this weekend as a capacity crowd [...] of 8,008 responded to [..Munster..] urging them on
With a full house of 8,000 at Irish Independent Park
The Cork sporting public enthusiastically welcomed international rugby back to the city, filling the redeveloped Musgrave Park to its 8,200 sell-out
Final is due to be played on 17th March in Musgrave Park 2015