Micheál Martin one of many names to slam plans to rename Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Micheál Martin one of many names to slam plans to rename Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has claimed that the plans to potentially rename Cork's iconic GAA stadium, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, are "disappointing and annoying."

This week, it was announced that there was a potential deal regarding the naming rights for the county's primary stadium.

Páirc Uí Chaoimh is currently named after Pádraig Uí Chaoimh, who was a key figure in Cork GAA's development and served as GAA director-general for 35 years.

On Tuesday night, Cork GAA's County Board delegates were presented with a proposal for a naming rights deal for Páirc Uí Chaoimh, valued between €250,000 and €300,000 annually.

The suggested main sponsor for the historic naming rights was expected to be the Irish supermarket chain SuperValu, potentially giving the Cork GAA grounds a new identity as "SuperValu Páirc or Park."

The total package, green-lighted by the stadium board, is estimated to be around €1 million until 2026.

Cork GAA released a statement on Tuesday night, writing: "Cork GAA can confirm that it is in discussions with SuperValu regarding the naming rights for Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

"While no matter had been finalised prior to the meeting of delegates to the County Board on Tuesday evening, both sides have been conscious of the public debate that followed recent speculation in the media.

"SuperValu and Cork GAA remain committed to continuing their engagement, as both parties share a common interest in supporting Gaelic games across the county, and discussions are continuing."

However, despite the board's approval, no agreement was reached on Tuesday. Cork GAA CEO Kevin O'Donovan mentioned that keeping the existing stadium name while incorporating a sponsor into the new title was open for discussion. The goal is to reach a deal before the championship kicks off in April.

"We got positive feedback from the views of the delegates around commercial partnerships and the positive and negative aspects of potential deals," he said this week.

"We know there has been a lot of discussion over the last 24 hours. We are listening to that. We are listening closely to our clubs, and that will inform our discussions as we proceed."

Before Tuesday's talks, the potential renaming move had not gone down well with members of the public.

Leader of Aontú Peadar Tóibín said on X, "Pádraig Ó Caoimh fought in the War of Independence. He was sentenced to 15 years of penal servitude in English prisons. He was lucky to escape the death penalty. He led the GAA for 35 years. Apparently, this is worth less than a few bob from SuperValu."

While Tánaiste Micheál Martin also made his feelings known about the deal on his own X account, saying, "Deeply disappointed and annoyed at the proposal to change the name of Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Pádraig Uí Chaoimh was a key figure in the formation of the GAA at the club and national levels. "The government allocated €30 million towards the development of the stadium and never sought naming rights," said the Cork native.

Cork's first game in the Munster Hurling Championship will be against Clare on April 28. Three weeks before this, Limerick headed to Cork in football.