Another key Croker role for McKenna

THE GAA is set for a major September shake-up at senior management level with commercial director Dermot Power to step down at the end of the season.

And it’s understood that Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna will assume Power’s responsibilities as the Association’s principal dealmaker.

Longford man McKenna will become one of the key figures in the GAA as he will retain his role as Croke Park stadium director.

Some believe McKenna’s elevation will necessitate a day-to-day manager of Croke Park but no appointment in that regard is anticipated, at least in the short term. Croke Park staff were notified of the September move yesterday, on the eve of the Association’s annual Congress in Mullingar.

It will have the effect of unifying two of the most critical areas of finance in the GAA — Croke Park and the position of commercial and marketing director.

The stadium is a key cash cow for the GAA and raised €36m in rental income from the IRFU and FAI while Lansdowne Road was closed for redevelopment.

However, the commercial director must bring the big sponsorship deals to the table and be a driving force in the marketing of the Association and stadium.

Power was a member of the Croke Park redevelopment project management committee, which oversaw the rebuilding before handing over to McKenna.

He also worked with former GAA president Peter Quinn to come up with the finance package for the new Cusack Stand that saw the cost of the project offset by monies raised from corporate boxes and premium seats.

Power was also an important figure in bringing eircom in as a Football Championship sponsor this week, to the tune of around €1.3m per annum over three years. He added this week that the GAA will shortly receive a specially commissioned report, conducted by Prof Tony Meenaghan of UCD’s Quinn School of Business, an expert in the field of both sponsorship evaluation and sports marketing.

“In a recession we’re looking at how we are managing and how we can improve things,” he said.

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