Sport for Business hosted a special breakfast event in Cork yesterday which was hailed as ‘excellent’ and ‘inspiring’ by those in attendance.
In partnership with Maeve Buckley from Leading Sport, we gathered representatives of the major sporting organisations across the City and County for a number of panel discussions and a real buzz of networking that will undoubtedly lead to greater collaboration in the near future. Plans are already afoot to create something more permanent from the bringing together of like minds across the sporting and business communities.
Philip Quinn from Munster Rugby and Paul Wycherley from Cork City FC kicked off proceedings in conversation with Rob Hartnett where we covered the opportunities and the challenges presented to sport in the City.
Both spoke of the challenge of facilities while recognising that a potential wider opening up of the superb new Pairc Uí Chaoimh, if the decision is made at next week’s GAA Congress, could add a new dimension for potential bigger events like a run through European competitions where demand on capacity is greater than is currently available anywhere in Munster outside of the GAA.
Great to hear discussions on the current sporting landscape and the future for participation and physical activity in Cork from an expert panel. pic.twitter.com/TvjP193USn
— MardykeArenaUCC (@MardykeArenaUCC) February 12, 2019
The laying of an artificial pitch at Irish Independent Park had seen use of Munster Rugby’s Cork base increase many times over and there was a wide spread of sports and schools using the pitch 200 times a year now, something that was never possible on grass.
Cork City’s season ticket sales ahead of Friday’s SSE Airtricity League Opener are running 50 per cent ahead of where they were only two years ago with as many as 1,400 expected to be sold for the 2019 campaign.
There was talk of the FAI development at Glanmire and of submissions to the Government’s Large Scale Infrastructure fund, a subject that was picked up by Morgan Buckley Head of Sport at UCC in the second of the panel discussions.
New facilities being developed in the City, with the capacity for as many as eleven pitches and more are planned but desperately needed to add to the existing facilities at the Mardyke Arena.
Buckley expressed his concern that until they come on stream there will be a pinch point where the development of teams and sports at UCC will be curtailed by the lack of playing facilities.
Kristine Meenaghan, the coordinator of the Cork Sports partnership spoke of their new strategic plan which aims to expand the range of programmes and the number of groups impacted by the work of the partnership.
Maeve Buckley referenced the ways in which sport was being pulled together and managed in different locations around the world as an example of how coordinated thinking can deliver really strong results.
It was agreed by those present, who included the CEO’s of Athletics Ireland and Rowing Ireland as well as representatives from Bank of Ireland, Grant Thornton, Elite Events, Eventbrite, Morgan McKinley, Trigon Hotels, Sport Ireland and the Olympic Federation of Ireland as well as many more, that a greater collaboration between those with an interest in sport could yield real and tangible results.
That is the next stage with an outline for how it might look being drawn up over the next 72 hours and the potential for making a real difference coming into clear view after yesterday.
Our thanks to Leading Sport, Ray Kelleher of the Metropole Hotel and the Cork Convention Bureau for their help in bringing yesterday to life. It’s only the beginning.