Chairman Ger Lane said yesterday he had initiated discussions with Mr Murphy about extending his contract for another year to ensure that crucial contractual elements of the Páirc Ui Chaoimh redevelopment were seen through to a satisfactory conclusion.
He also confirmed that the GAA management in Croke Park will have a hands-on role in the appointment of Frank Murphy’s successor next year.
“I addressed this issue with Frank last March, and asked him to remain in situ while important stadium and financial proposals remained on the table. He has an intimate knowledge of the workings and finances of the board and to allow that expertise and experience walk off site, so to speak, would have been irresponsible on our part.”
Mr Lane said that the misinterpretation of information provided at a board meeting to delegates had created some confusion about the retirement date of the secretary, who has been in the position since 1972.
“Frank will retire next December at Convention,” he said. “Had he left now, it would have coincided with the departure of our treasurer, Pearse Murphy which would have seen a huge level of institutional experience and memory leave Cork GAA at a crucial stage.”
The chairman also paid tribute to Pearse Murphy, who has stepped down after 21 years as Cork GAA’s money man. “He has been a rock of financial reliability, quietly going about his business in an efficient and productive way,” Ger Lane added. “He will be missed but each of three candidates seeking the post of treasurer are qualified accountants, and will bring their own financial expertise to the table.”
Asked last night on lessons learned from the €86.4m Páirc project, the chairman added: “A lot of people queried the expanse of what we have done — and similar discussions were had at steering committee level on occasions. But if I was involved in anything again like this, I would still want to do it right. We could have built a stadium for half the cost, half the size, and it would look exactly that. This is about Cork’s GAA future.”
He accepted it was disappointing that the stadium couldn’t host the recent Munster Club SFC final between Nemo Rangers and Dr Crokes, but explained the reason why.
“We have done some work on the sodding in front of the main stand. That area had been under heavy construction use for the installation of the roof on that stand, extending at least 15m out into the field. The turf brought in from Wales was laid only a matter of days before the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals and never really got an opportunity to bed in. Now it has been given that chance, and we are leaving it until January for any further use. We want to ensure there is no further damage to that area.”
Mr Lane also put to bed a series of “mischievous rumours” about issues and problems and the new stadium.
“All this talk about drainage problems, electrical issues, it is simply not true. I am not denying there was robust debate at stages at steering committee level with the builders and contractors. But overall, we’d be happy with how it ended up. There are no major issues around the stadium now.”