Ireland’s multicultural society was reflected in the attendance at the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday.
One of the Polish families among the crowd had plenty of reasons to celebrate, along with thousands from the Déise.
Magda Patelczyk was at the match with her son Max and her husband Alex, supporting their adopted county, Waterford.
“We are from Poland and we are living here 11 years,” said Magda.
“We got interested in hurling because of Max. He started school and we tried to follow it.
“This is our second time at a big event like this — the first was in Thurles.”
Prior to the main feature yesterday, there was an intermediate hurling championship final between Cork and Kilkenny.
Cork fan Mossie Barry from Mayfield said he was impressed with the new facilities on offer.
Mr Barry said the new grounds were a tremendous boost to Cork.
“It was badly needed. It might just have a bit of teething trouble but it is going to be great and lucky enough we have a team still in the hurling championship this year.
“I was seated in the corporate side and it was just luxury and lush.”
Wexford fan Luke O’Loughlin, meanwhile, said he was “like a rabbit in headlights” before heading into the modernised Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
“I am nearly getting a nosebleed going in because we aren’t used to this,” he said, before the disappointment of the game itself.
“The stadium looks lovely. I am really looking forward to having a great look around.”
Eoghan O’Brien, aged 8, from New Ross, Co Wexford, said he “loved it all 100%” and was enjoying his first trip to Leeside.
His father Shane said the key to having a successful day out was leaving early, and the family soaked up the atmosphere in the modernised stadium.
The fixtures at the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium passed without a hitch over the weekend, according to Bob Ryan, chairman of the steering committee for the redevelopment. He said the whole operation had been seamless.
“Everything has gone really well. No serious problems at all.
“People flowed into the stadium very easily. We instructed people to park in the city and walk down and everyone did that.
“This is so many years in the planning and execution and it’s a big relief that it has gone as it has. So many people are doing so well from it and it shows what Cork is able to cope with.”
Garda Inspector Finbarr O’Sullivan praised the media for successfully getting the word out about parking in town and then walking out to the stadium.
“There has been no double parking. People have arrived early.
“There has been no trouble and I think it is down to the great media coverage. It has been excellent.”
Meanwhile, musicians and their supporters attending the Munster Fleadh Cheoil on Leeside also got into the spirit of the occasion, with many families travelling from Clare, Waterford, and Tipperary deciding to double up and attend both GAA and musical events during a packed weekend in Cork City
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved