Manchester United to open Ireland’s new Aviva Stadium
Manchester United will take on an Airtricity League XI in the first-ever match at the recently-completed Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
The friendly, which takes place on 4 August, will be closely followed by the first-ever international at Ireland’s new home when World Cup quarter-finalists Argentina visit a week later.
The 50,000-seater stadium took just under three years to complete and was built on the site of the old Lansdowne Road stadium, which was demolished in 2007.
The new stadium, which will also be home to Ireland’s rugby union team, is set to host the 2011 UEFA Europa League final.
Republic of Ireland and Manchester United defender, John O’Shea, expressed his excitement at the prospect of playing at the new ground.
“I am really looking forward to the match in Dublin,” said O’Shea. “We have a massive following of fans from Ireland and I know they will do us proud and give us great reception in the new Aviva stadium.”
It marks a historic moment for domestic Irish football and Damien Richardson, who will oversee the management of the Airtricity XI in their friendly match against the Red Devils, spoke of his excitement.
“The opening of Aviva Stadium is a hugely important development and it is a source of pride that the Airtricity League will be given the opportunity to officially open the new home of Irish football,” said Richardson.
He continued: “With the international profile of this game, it represents a wonderful opportunity for our players to highlight the quality of professional football on show here in Ireland.”
Richardson will spend the next weeks visiting Airtricity League matches before naming a squad to face the 18-time English champions later this month.