Rebels sure capacity at 'Pairc' will be boosted by summer
Cork County Board are confident that renovation work to Pairc Ui Chaoimh will bring the capacity back up to its normal 43,000 by next summer.
The preliminary findings of a health and safety audit on all inter-county grounds has led to a series of recommendations for each county board to carry out. Failure to do so will lead to, in some cases, a dramatic reduction in capacity.
It has been suggested that Pairc Ui Chaoimh will be worst affected, with a drop from 43,000 to 30,000 because of numerous issues the Slattery Report, commissioned by the GAA, brought forward.
That would seriously impact on the crowds that could attend a potential Cork/Kerry Munster SFC semi-final in June or a Cork/Tipperary Munster SHC semi-final.
However, Cork PRO Ger Lane stressed yesterday that the work that was suggested will be carried out and that this would lead to the capacity being revised upwards again.
"We don't see a problem. We're disappointed that the focus has been on us when we know that other grounds have had very extensive lists too to work through," he said.
"Many of the measures we have to address are small and very achievable between now and June. We'd be very confident that the Pairc will be back to its capacity, or close to it, for those games. From what we know, the report is at a preliminary stage and is not finalised."
Some grounds in Leinster have been badly affected, with St Conleth's Park in Newbridge and Pairc Tailteann in Navan seeing dramatic reductions that may not be remedied in the short term.
But Leinster Council chairman Martin Skelly is also of the view that new criteria set out can be addressed quickly and with cost efficiency.
"Every county has been made aware of what their current capacity now stands at as per the Slattery Report," he said. "It was commissioned by the GAA and every county bought into it and actually paid for it. Our infrastructural committee has met 10 of the 12 counties in the province as regards the findings of the report.
"In every county's case the capacity has been reduced somewhat, some more than others. Counties are drawing up a schedule of works and every county has taken it on board and I'd imagine by the time the league commences, a lot of work as regards exits, extra turnstiles, ancillary facilities like toilets, spectator comfort, will have been dealt with.
"It has been taken very seriously and I'd hope the counties will have their capacities increased somewhat by the start of the league."
Skelly acknowledged that substantial finance will be needed in some situations. "In some cases, there will be a lot of finance required," he said. "These are very difficult times, but I would imagine counties will only do what they can afford to do."