Páirc Uí Chaoimh may not be ready for All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals
Keys to be handed over on Friday but CCCC will meet next week for final decision
There is still a question mark over whether Cork’s redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh will host the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals in two weeks’ time. A meeting next Monday, July 10th, will make the final decision on the matter.
The venue has already had to defer its official opening, which it had been hoped would coincide with the Munster football or hurling finals, but a combination of technological issues and the failure to finalise security protocols in time forced the postponement of the official opening.
At June’s meeting of the GAA Central Council, the idea of staging the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals in Cork was discussed. According to Feargal McGill, the GAA’s head of games administration, the decision taken was to “ask the CCCC [Central Competitions Control Committee] to consider Páirc Uí Chaoimh” as a venue for those matches.
The committee will wait until next weekend’s matches in both the qualifiers and the Munster final have taken place before finalising the details. McGill added that the Cork venue, “will not be opened unless it’s completely ready”.
At the time of the June postponement county chair Ger Lane said that the work on the project would be completed by the middle of this month.
“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.
Cork remain confident that the revised deadline will be met. The keys to the new stadium are due to be handed over this coming Friday, July 7th, at which stage the development officially stops being a building site.
On the issue of whether the other matters have been resolved, according to one source all of those matters were “in hand” and they “weren’t aware of any further problems that would hold up the development”.
There has been considerable work done by volunteers to ensure that the ground is ready to open at the end of the month. There are long memories in the county concerning the previous official opening of the old Páirc Uí Chaoimh 41 years ago in August 1976.
On the day of that year’s Cork-Kerry Munster football final, an estimated 10,000 spectators broke into the ground after the gates had been shut with the result that the crowds ended up on the side of the pitch and behind the goals.
McGill entered a further note of caution by pointing out that the CCCC would have to take into account the four counties who qualify for the quarter-finals.
It had been assumed that were Cork to lose Sunday’s Munster final and become one of the quarter-finalists, other counties wouldn’t object to their having home advantage given the historic nature of the stadium opening but that has yet to be confirmed.
The new stadium does not have corporate suites as in Croke Park but it does contain a premium level of just over 2,000 seats. Roughly half of the available 10-year tickets have been either bought or sales agreed since they went on sale this spring at a cost of €6,500.
There has already been disappointment over the missing of the Munster final deadlines and were the All-Ireland quarter-finals not to take place there would be further unhappiness, as there would probably as a result be no competitive inter-county fixtures until next year, 2018.
All-Ireland semi-finals are covered by the terms of the Croke Park ticket holders and only replays have been played outside of the Dublin venue.