Munster rugby an option as Páirc Uí Chaoimh may widen financial horizons

The directors of Staid Cois Laoi, the company tasked with running the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh, will meet in the next fortnight, with Munster rugby games, financial compliance, and naming rights for the stadium expected to feature on the agenda.

Munster rugby an option as Páirc Uí Chaoimh may widen financial horizons

By Michael Moynihan

The directors of Staid Cois Laoi, the company tasked with running the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh, will meet in the next fortnight, with Munster rugby games, financial compliance, and naming rights for the stadium expected to feature on the agenda.

The company has now been officially registered and the board of directors includes Cork County Board chair Tracey Kennedy and other Cork GAA officials as well as two external appointments, developer Michael O’Flynn and former Bord Gáis chief John Mullins.

A high-profile Munster rugby game in the European Champions Cup is an option which is likely to come up at the board’s meeting.

Last year Munster Rugby chief Garret Fitzgerald said: “If you’re asking if the opportunity arose in the future for us to do that, we’d love to do it,” when the prospect of playing a headline game on Leeside was broached.

It’s understood that the committee is open to such a possibility — and to effecting the necessary changes at the GAA’s annual Congress to allow such a game to be played.

The prospect of American football college games in the stadium will also be discussed.

The stadium does not have a name sponsor as yet, but it’s understood that Cork’s bright showing in the Munster hurling championship — they are current champions and play in Sunday’s decider against Clare — will boost the Cork officials’ hand significantly in any related negotiations.

Though Cork were well beaten in the football decider last weekend, the crowd of over 27,000 at that game is another plus in any such discussions, as were the hugely successful Ed Sheeran concerts held in the stadium last month.

If Cork do not figure in the All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals then Leeside officials will be hoping to have that double-header of games in the new stadium, which will also boost the venue’s profile.

The board of directors are also expected to consider other commercial partnerships for the stadium, such as having a technology partner.

The directors will also be fully briefed on the financial compliance parameters involved in running Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The redevelopment project received a €30 million grant from central government, which means that if necessary representatives of Staid Cois Laoi can be invited to the Public Accounts Committee to explain precisely how those funds have been spent.

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