The Football Association of Ireland have confirmed that Manchester United are coming to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on 4 August, where they will face an Airtricity League XI.
The game will be the first football match to take place in the new stadium and will be closely followed on 11 August by the meeting of the Republic of Ireland and Argentina.
The Airtricity League XI, which will be managed by ex-Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers and Cork City manager Damien Richardson, will represent the league against one of the biggest clubs in world football.
With no age or nationality restrictions, Richardson will be able to name the very best Airtricity League players for the encounter.
Manchester United will bring a strong squad to Dublin for the match, as they prepare for the start of the 2010/11 Premier League season. Among the host of senior international players likely to feature for Manchester United are current Irish internationals John O’Shea and Darron Gibson.
Welcoming the announcement, Manchester United Chief Executive David Gill, said: ‘It is a great honour to have been invited to play the opening football match in the magnificent Aviva Stadium. Anyone who has visited Old Trafford on a match day knows the strength of Manchester United’s support in Ireland and we are delighted to be able to play a match on their home soil. Their loyalty and willingness to undertake long trips to support their team is remarkable. The players always enjoy their visits to Ireland and I’m sure this occasion will be a memorable one.’
John Delaney, CEO of the FAI, said: ‘We are delighted that the first football match to take place in Aviva stadium will see a representative Airtricity League side in action against one of the top club sides in the world. Along with the friendly match against Argentina on August 11 and our two home European Championship qualifying matches, football fans are in for an eventful and exciting autumn at Aviva Stadium.’
Damien Richardson, Manager of the Airtricity League XI said: ‘Representative football is something which I feel can be extremely beneficial to the league, both in terms of publicity and experience. The Airtricity League is represented in international competition by the Republic of Ireland Under-23s, and today’s announcement will give players from our domestic game another important opportunity to showcase their abilities. It will be an honour for me to manage the League side and I am really looking forward to the challenge of taking on Manchester United.’