Munster senior football final now set for Killarney

New Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium won’t be ready to host first game until mid-July

A view of the ongoing redevelopment at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Photo: Gary Carr/Inpho

A view of the ongoing redevelopment at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Photo: Gary Carr/Inpho

 

Cork officials have declined to comment on any potential penalty clause related to the failure to meet the handover date of the newly renovated Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Delays in the final commissioning works at the new stadium have forced the Cork County Board to cancel their scheduled hosting of both the Munster football and hurling finals next month.

A handover date of this Sunday, June 18th, had been agreed with building contractors Sisk, but according to a statement issued at lunchtime on Monday, “the Cork County Board was informed this morning that the scheduled handover date of June 18th would not now be met. There are still some commissioning works to be completed and these will be finished by July 7th. The first game in the new stadium will take place in mid July.”

 Both the Munster football and hurling finals were set for the revamped Cork venue, beginning with Cork against Kerry in the football final on Sunday July 2nd, and the hurling final a week later, where the winners of this Sunday’s semi-final between Cork and Waterford will play Clare.

 However Bob Ryan, the chairman of the stadium steering committee, declined to comment on any of the “technicalities” of this handover date not being met.

 “We won’t be making any further comment, other than what was in the statement,” said Ryan. “We’ve agreed that with all parties, in the best interest of progressing and finalising the project. So we won’t be getting into any of the technicalities like that. After the handover I’ll answer all questions asked of me.”

 Building contractors Sisk were appointed in November 2015 following confirmation that the business case advanced by the county board for the project had been deemed “fully compliant with the public funding code and been approved by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for exchequer support”.

Major games

 Cork county board chairman Ger Lane also expressed his disappointed but remained hopeful could host a major championship match before the summer is out.

“Clearly we are disappointed but we want everything to be pristine before the stadium hosts its first major games. We want to be certain that all the expectations for this tremendous new facility will be fully met and we are satisfied that this will be the case by mid July,” he said.

 The Munster football final will now likely be refixed for Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, as Kerry and Cork operate on a home-away basis, while the Munster hurling final is likely to go to Semple Stadium, these venues still to be confirmed by the Munster Council.

The final bill on the revamp is expected to come in just a shade below €80 million. A combination of grants from the government, Croke Park and the Munster Council – as well as €10m from the Cork County Board itself – has made up the funding so far, with the intention that a shortfall of around €13m will be made up through the sale of 2,100 premium level seats.

The terraces at the City End and the Blackrock End both hold around 12,000, a three-tiered South Stand will house 13,000, while the smaller North Stand will take 8,000. All in all, that makes a capacity of in or around 45,000. For concerts, that will rise to around 48,000.

Speaking to the Irish Times about the project last month, Ryan admitted there were still some “challenges” about meeting the deadline date.

 “Hopefully,” said Ryan. “That’s the plan, anyway. We’d hope to have a few games here this summer. But it all comes down to the vagaries of sport, too.

 “So we’ll see. We’ll be ready, whatever happens. They are due to hand it over on June 18th. They have challenges, we know they have challenges. But the pressure is fiercely on to have it done for that date.”

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