The President of Ireland, Mr Michael D Higgins, returns to the west this weekend to support Connacht Rugby’s historic Heineken Cup fixture against Toulouse. The President will be accompanied by his wife Sabina to the province’s first Heineken Cup fixture at the Galway Sportsground when they host European aristocrats Toulouse on Saturday evening. It will be Mr Higgins’ second major sporting event since being inaugurated, having attended the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2012 play-off against Estonia at the Aviva Stadium earlier this week.
Also attending on Saturday will be An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and both will be seated in the new covered stand adjacent to the greyhound stadium.
Connacht Rugby chief executive Gerry Kelly says the province is delighted both the President and An Taoiseach will attend what promises to be an historic event in the west of Ireland.
“We are looking forward to the biggest occasion in Connacht Rugby and we are delighted the President and An Taoiseach are giving their support to the team which will add to the great sense of occasion on this 100th European game for Connacht.”
All tickets for the fixture have been sold out and 9,000 supporters will be at Saturday’s clash between newcomers Connacht and giants Toulouse.
To mark this occasion - Connacht’s 100th in Europe - Connacht Rugby is calling on all fans to show their support for their home province by adorning their homes, places of work, or even their car with green.
Connacht’s marketing manager Fiona Keyes said fans have been called on to ‘Front Up, Rise Up and Green Up’ in the lead-up to Saturday’s game, and there has already been strong support from businesses and schools throughout the city and along the Green Mile, which runs from Blackrock in Salthill, through the Spanish Arch, Quay Street, Eyre Street and Forster Street as far as the Sportsground and The Huntsman Inn.
Fans can also show their support by uploading messages, pictures and videos to Connacht Rugby’s Facebook page.
College Road will be closed from 4pm to 9pm on Saturday to facilitate fans walking to the grounds, while parking will be available at Moneenageisha and city car parks. A park and ride facility will operate from Galwegians RFC on the Dublin Road.