Croke Park Cusack Stand redevelopment



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Croke Park development started Image: GAA

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has commenced a €12M refurbishment of Croke Park’s (Dublin, Ireland) Cusack Stand.

‘GAA’ stated that the old Cusack Stand was demolished after the 1993 All-Ireland Football Final and the current structure subsequently opened in 1996 as Phase One of the redevelopment of the entire stadium.

Dublin (Ireland)-based the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is an Irish international amateur sporting and cultural organization focused primarily on promoting indigenous Gaelic games and pastimes, which include the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, Gaelic handball, and rounders.

The 82,300-capacity Croke Park is a Gaelic games stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Named after Archbishop Thomas Croke, it is referred to as Croker by the GAA fans and the locals. It serves as both the principal national stadium of Ireland and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).

‘GAA’ further stated that the refurbishment of the 27,000-capacity stand will include replacing the seats in the stand and upgrading the conference center, suites and bathrooms. The heating system in the stand will also be changed to make it more energy-efficient.

The Croke Park Stadium Director, Peter McKenna, believes the refurbishment will give the Cusack Stand, now 27 years old, a timely facelift – “We do need to keep the building at an appropriate presentation for both our Monday to Friday clients but also for premium seat customers, suite holders and the general GAA fan. If you only reflect on where you live yourself, then anyone will tell you that a carpet will only have a certain life before you have to change it, the same with your settee, TV, wallpaper, everything else. It’s a constant upkeep, repair and maintenance. You can take that domestic environment and multiply it by 1,000 because the Croke Park is just a massive facility. We take half the population of Galway in here every time we have a full house, it’s massive. So, there’s lots of repairs and maintenance that goes on a regular basis.”

Added McKenna, “Then material hits its natural life cycle. Big pieces of kit like lifts and escalators, heating systems and so on, all need to be switched out. So, we’re doing a massive job in the Cusack in terms of upgrading things that people might never see because they’ll be covered up again. It also gives us an opportunity to reposition the Cusack Stand as a very important mid-sized conference center compared to what we’re doing in the Hogan side. I think it’s an opportunity too for us to put a degree of signature to it. The Hogan side is very much focused on the player and the elite athlete. What we want to do with the Cusack side is focus on the unsung heroes of the GAA – the volunteer, the mentor, the coaches, and the backroom. The men and women who have made the GAA great without a big song and dance about it. I think that’s probably in keeping with the Cusack as well.”

The timeline for the refurbishment is estimated at six months, so it will be completed in good time for the next season.

Concluded McKenna, “We’ve appointed the design team and the various specialists in terms of mechanics, electricians, and so on. They will then be responsible for getting the construction teams in. We’re going to start this before Christmas and make sure that we’re finished and out the gap before the new season starts. We’ve got a fairly busy year next year with our games and there’s a window of six months for us to start and finish the works and people are confident we’ll do it in that time frame. I think we’re all really proud of Croke Park. It really is like a house, it’s where we all belong. There’s something just really special about the place so there will be a huge satisfaction when we complete these works.”

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