The chairman of the Cork County Board has insisted that Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be ready to host the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals in 19 days’ time, writes Stephen Barry.
The stadium is due to be completed this Friday, July 7, and in response to reports to the contrary, Ger Lane has reiterated to RedFM that they are on-track to open for the July 23 date.
Cork County Board chairman Ger Lane has told RedFM Sport that Pairc ui Chaoimh WILL be ready for Q/Fs, despite reports to the contrary today— Cork's RedFM Sport (@BigRedBench) July 4, 2017
The quarter-final venue will be confirmed next Monday, after the Munster hurling final.
The previously scheduled handover date of June 18 was delayed by almost three weeks due to commissioning works which were unfinished.
The stadium would have hosted last Sunday’s Munster football final between Cork and Kerry and the upcoming Munster hurling final featuring Cork and Clare but for the delays.
Speaking after being notified of the delay, Lane said: “Clearly we are disappointed but we want everything to be pristine before the stadium hosts its first major games.
“We want to be certain that all the expectations for this tremendous new facility will be fully met and we are satisfied that this will be the case by mid-July.”
With the gates due to open soon, here’s a look back at how the demolition and construction has progressed to this point...
The 4G pitch accompanying the stadium was installed, complete with plastic drainage system to make it truly all-weather.
With the roof in place, seats were next to be fitted to both stands, with a black and white colour scheme chosen, rather than the blood and bandage of Cork.
After being built by an Austrian company, the roof of the three-tier main stand was hoisted into place, section by 60-tonne section, over the winter.
The first lifts began in November, with the roof completed three months later. The stand will be able to accommodate 13,000 spectators once finished.
Páirc Uí Chaoimh was included on the list of potential venues for Ireland’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup as work saw the main stand roof assembled on the ground.
A media tour elaborated on the commercial plan for the stadium, including the premium level priority seats, which were launched in November.
Work on the pitch began in earnest, too, with the installation of a drainage system and seeding.
In the month of the 2017 Championship draws, it was confirmed that Páirc Uí Chaoimh wouldn’t be ready in time to host the Cork hurlers’ opener against All-Ireland champions Tipperary.
“We won’t be in a position to host the Cork/Tipperary game because our schedule is for July and it's a tight schedule as it is,” Cork chairman Ger Lane told Red FM.
On the construction site, the City End Terrace began to be built up as work also starts on the Blackrock End Terrace.
The roof over the ‘uncovered’ Northern Stand has been completed this month, while work begins on building up the City End terrace.
Meanwhile the chair of the Cork County Board’s stadium business committee John Mullins told the Irish Examiner that the expenditure won’t take from investment in Cork teams.
He added that the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be “as good a consumer experience as anything in the country.”
A start on the roof over the previously uncovered stand is the most eye-catching expansion of the month, although the skeletal terrace structures still remain.
The multi-storey main stand, which will house dressing rooms, premium level, restaurants, a new press box, gym and museum, continues to bulk up.
Building work is going full steam ahead as the Northern and Southern Stands begin to form the familiar bowl-shape of the Ballintemple stadium.
Under the shadow of the tower cranes at either side of the still-intact field, trucks carry in the ready-made frame supports for the stands.
Behind schedule but up and running, Páric Uí Chaoimh is a hive of activity as building work is underway.
The first of the tower cranes was in position by the start of the new year as the demolition work expanded to all four sides of the ground, with corrosion of steel reinforcements cited among the reasons for the extra demolition.
Here’s a close up of some demolition work, after the levelling of the uncovered Northern Stand was added to the plans.
Large sections of the covered Southern Stand were already removed within a month of demolition work commencing.
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s what the old stadium looked like in its final moments before being demolished.
There’s a pic of the stadium’s initial construction, back in 1975, in there too, but with less big cranes visible than are there today.