Munster Council chairman Jerry O’Sullivan says the Cork County Board made the correct decision to defer the reopening of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, despite the venue being “within touching distance” of completion.
With the Páirc Uí Chaoimh handover put back from June 18 to early July, Fitzgerald Stadium will now host next month’s Munster final, while a call on the venue for the provincial hurling decider will be made by Munster Council top-brass next week.
Health and safety concerns, remarked O’Sullivan, had to be prioritised over the desired reopening fixture of a Cork-Kerry Munster football final.
“The news is particularly disappointing for Cork given all the hard work and effort that has gone into getting the stadium to such an advanced stage.
"They are within touching distance of having it ready for the day [July 2] but will not quite make it,” he said.
“It is particularly disappointing for the Cork County Board and from a Munster Council perspective, we are disappointed for Cork and everybody else because everyone was looking forward to seeing the new stadium on Munster football final afternoon.
"It would have been fantastic if the Munster football final was the game to kick off the new stadium, but that won’t now be the case.”
He added: “It wouldn’t be fair to go ahead on July 2 if it wasn’t ready and everything wasn’t in proper order. It wouldn’t have been acceptable. You couldn’t take any chances or risks.
"Everything has to be right to stage a big occasion. Standards have to be met. Safety has to come first. Health and safety, in this instance, has come first.”
Munster Council did not interfere in the discussion that took place between the Cork and Kerry board chairmen yesterday to hammer out a venue, but O’Sullivan did remark Fitzgerald Stadium was the obvious choice. That an agreement was reached so swiftly was pleasing.
“The amount of work and preparation that goes into these games, it’s not a thing that can be put together last minute. There is a huge amount of work goes into preparing these big occasions.”
With Páirc Uí Chaoimh also ruled out of the equation as the potential host for the Munster SHC final on July 9, that game, involving Clare and the winners of Sunday’s semi-final between Cork and Waterford, will be played at either Semple Stadium or the Gaelic Grounds.
“We were looking at both finals for Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the football, especially, but we are very fortunate in Munster we have a number of top-class stadiums capable of hosting Munster finals.
"We will wait and see who comes out on top between Cork and Waterford before making a call on where the Munster final is staged.”
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