It was always going to be down the wire and yesterday morning officials of Cork GAA made the call that the wire was too tight for the new Pairc Ui Chaoimh to host the Munster Football and Hurling Finals scheduled for July, as originally planned.
The deadline for handover by main contractors Sisk has been pushed back three weeks from June 18th as was in the original plan to July 7th. This loss of three weeks is to accommodate finishing works in order that the stadium should be exactly as it should be for its first public outing.
“Clearly we are disappointed but we want everything to be pristine before the stadium hosts its first major games,” said Cork County Board Chairman Ger Lane.
“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.”
It would be standard that all four of the All Ireland Football Quarter Finals and both the Semi Finals would be held in Croke Park. This is also the case with the two semi finals in the All Ireland Hurling Championship.
That would leave an All Ireland Hurling Championship Quarter Final double header as the most likely marquee fixture to open up the stadium. Given the make up of the qualifiers route this year that could potentially see a match up between Cork and Kilkenny in one game and Tipperary and Galway in another.
Obviously that would depend on how the Munster and Leinster Championships play out but the presence already in the qualifiers of last season’s two finalists means that whatever pairings come out they will be special.
Missing out on the two Munster Finals though wil be a big hit to the finances of the board and to the City which would have seen an estimated boost of €12.5 million for each game according to projections made by the GAA when requesting Government funding for the project.
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