I must say I hope that CCC try and direct the GAA somewhat in the redevelopment of Pairc Ui Caoimh. The officership of the current Cork County Board are fairly conservative and I would worry they would only be interested in spending a couple of million on remedial work. The truth is the the Park is in need of a complete overhaul and possibly even should be knocked and rebuilt. It is presently a third world stadium with benches (sized for ants) instead of seats, etc. For this reason, I would actually love if the City Council would actually take their involvement a step further......
My own view, and it is a bit of an obsession of mine, is that a state of the art 40,000 to 50,000 capacity stadium should be built on that site. Of this, at least 35,000 should be proper seating with corporate boxes etc. In fact if I had my way it would be all seated as I think the terracing that remains in, say, Croke Park really takes away from the overall appearance of it.
I think a stadium of this size would be viable in Cork if we are ambitious enough. Cork is a remarkable city in terms of sporting ability and support. At the moment that support is not being utilised. I know there are the hardy souls that go to Cork GAA league matches (mind you less than the 30,000 that will trek up to Thurles for championship matches), the 3,000 to 6,000 that will go to Turner's Cross each week and the similar amount who go to Munster Celtic League matches in Musgrave Pk but I think you could increase these figures exponentially if there was one unified, state of the art, stadium in Cork. Quite frankly if such matches were turned into "events" in a new stadium (a la the "Croke Parke effect") you would at least double and possibly multiply attendances x 4/5. These matches could keep the stadium ticking over but its real purpose could be for other, bigger but less regular, events.
I reckon that between hurling and football you could have at least 3 munster championship full houses a year. It would also be available for all-ireland quarter finals and the like. You could also have other one off GAA matches should as County Semis and Finals, Aussie Rules internationals and the like to provide other large attendances.
Equally, if Cork City could reap the benefits of larger gate receipts, given their current success and given their monopoly of Ireland's best sporting catchment area, there is no reason why they could not dominate Irish football and, in the medium term, get into the Group stages of the Champion's league - the financial benefits of this should be obvious to all. Moreover the FAI could definitely be prevailed upon to bring an international friendly or two to leeside every year.
On the rugby front again I think the venue could host Celtic league matches and the odd International and B international. Moreover, notwithstanding the proposed redevelopment of Thomond Park (which is the kind of half-measure redevoplment I fear will happen to Pairc Ui Caoimh), I think Munster European cup matches could be viable in Cork too especially if there are high yield coporate boxes. I know my employers, and many other companies, would snap up a box at this mooted venue in a heart beat if there was this kind of fare being served up (the idea of bringing clients to Heineken Cup matches or even The Champions League would whet any businessman's appetite). Quite simply this kind of revenue would not be available to the IRFU, the GAA or the FAI in their current Munster bases.
All of the above does not also factor in the ability to hold concerts at the venue in summer months. Enough said.
Of course the BIG problem with the above is that the GAA own Pairc Ui Caoimh and will not want rugby and soccer there. However they cannmot build the kind of stadium described above on their own. Therefore what I would suggest is that the City Council seek to buy out the GAA and then lease back the land to be redeveloped as this new state of the art stadium. The private sector would obviously need to be involved and equally the main sports bodies would need to be involved financially as part stakeholders. I think this way the GAA rules diffiiculty would be circumvented. Equally the GAA would get a whopping sum they could invest as they please including the upgrade of Pairc Ui Rinn for smaller draw matches etc.
I know the above is rough and ready and can be torn apart by a cynic. Yes Cork City aren't likely to be in the CL this year or next (but you never know!), yes Turner's Cross, Thomond Park and Musgrave Park are getting partial mark-overs, yes Frank Murphy won't be on board (one suspects!), yes there will be many other problems. The bottom line is this though. There are 500,000 people approx in the county. That number is rising. Many areas in Europe with that population but only a fraction of Cork's sporting heritage have stadiums of this size. Cork companies have vast marketing budgets they would happily spend on corporate boxes and corporate entertainment generally at such a venue. Equally the location itself (on the harbour with a rail line that can be reinsatated easily, 1 mile ftom the city centre) is perfect. Think big people. The problems arfe all surmountable. With the right planning it would work.