‘Stadium should host big games after revamp’

Páirc Uí Chaoimh should be chosen to host All-Ireland quarter or semi-finals when it reopens in 2017 following a €70 million upgrade, according to the Cork County Board chairman.

‘Stadium should host big games after revamp’

Bob Ryan said when the venue is re-opened it should benefit from big matches and big name concerts.

He made the comments after An Bord Pleanála gave the green light to the redevelopment yesterday.

Work will get under way demolishing the old stadium next February and the redevelopment will be completed in the spring of 2017. More than 400 jobs will be created during construction.

“We want to see top games being played there, like Munster championships, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t host All Ireland quarter or semi-finals. Cork is the same distance from Dublin as Dublin is from Cork. It will be the most modern stadium in the country after Croke Park,” Mr Ryan said.

He also said the GAA would be working closely with music promoters to bring big stars to the new 45,000-seater venue, as it did with Bruce Springsteen in July 2013.

“We have strong relationships with the likes of Aiken Promotions and Denis Desmond of MCD.”

Mr Ryan said that he would also be delighted if Ireland was successful with its Rugby World Cup bid for 2023 as Páirc Uí Chaoimh is one of the venues pencilled in for matches by the IRFU.

The county board got a €30m grant from the government for the redevelopment of the stadium, a further €20m from the GAA Central Council and is putting €10m of its own money into the projects.

Mr Ryan said that to make up some of the €10m deficit the county board intends to sell 2,000 premium seats for 10 years prior to the stadium re-opening.

Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which originally opened in 1976, will be completely revamped incorporating modern bars and restaurants, conference facilities as well as a centre of excellence and a large all-weather outdoor training pitch which the county board will allow local schools to use free of charge. It will also feature performance assessment and rehab facilities and a museum.

“We’re delighted with the Bord Pleanála decision. It’s a very important moment for Cork as it allows us to progress a project that holds out so many economic, recreational and community positives for the city and county. It should be remembered that a major fixture or public event at Páirc Uí Chaoimh converts into tangible benefits for businesses in Cork, particularly for those in the hospitality sector,” Mr Ryan said.

Just 24 hours before An Bord Pleanála held an oral hearing on the development, the GAA signed a memorandum of understanding with Ballintemple Area Residents Association.

Mr Ryan said a new management team would be appointed by the county board to run the stadium.

In the meantime a GAA liaison team will be working closely with the residents’ association to iron out any concerns that might arise pre- and post-construction.

More in this section