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‘No desire’ to consider Croke Park naming rights

The GAA’s top officials have poured cold water on a potential naming rights deal in the near future for Croke Park.

Speaking at the launch of the GAA’s 2023 financial report and report to Congress, Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan said that while still talking about hypotheticals, there was “no drive, no desire” to entertain the idea.

That was backed up by Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Larry McCarthy who said that: “many iconic stadiums have no naming rights, and this is an iconic stadium.”

McCarthy, whose term will come to an end at Congress later this month, also said that he was “very happy” that the recent Páirc Uí Chaoimh situation was resolved, particularly that the Ó Caoimh family were happy with the outcome.

The Leeside stadium will be known as SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh as part of a 10-year partnership between Cork GAA and the retailer. Initial reports had suggested that SuperValu Páirc was being considered as a potential name, generating negative feedback.

Ryan also stated that the association would be open to changing restrictions on other sports using inter-county grounds.

Last October, Kingspan Breffni hosted a rugby challenge clash between Ulster and Glasgow Warriors with Ravenhill undergoing maintenance.

“Treoir Oifigiúl and Central Council policy currently prescribe that GAA grounds may only be used by other sports in the case of events of national significance,” Ryan said in his report.

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“Recent months have seen permission granted for a small number of games which possibly stretch that definition and have given me pause for thought. It’s not a question of finance, or at least not a short term income stream.”

Ryan, however, said in a later media briefing that extending such freedoms to club grounds was unpractical given how busy they are up and down the country.

Meanwhile, in his report to Congress, Ryan took aim at the Gaelic Players Association over last summer’s protests regarding the player charters of the LGFA and Camogie Association.

Last July, the GPA said that the GAA denied the four hurling semi-finalists from unfurling a “#UnitedForEquality” banner in support of the female players, something disputed by the GAA. Banners were present at the second gootball semi-final.

The protests were ultimately suspended after the players secured commitments from the LGFA and the Camogie Association.

Writing in his report to congress, Ryan said that the issue had been “conflated.”

“I respect completely – indeed the responsibility – of the GPA to advocate for all of its members, including women playing inter-county football and camogie. I also believe – fervently so – as mentioned elsewhere in this report and in corresponding dispatches in previous years, that the future of Gaelic games lies in a single organisation governing all of our codes.

“However, it was disappointing to see during the year that player welfare for female players was allowed to be conflated with the responsibilities of the GAA and that the GPA chose to stage protests at some of our games to seek to influence the Ladies Associations with regards to charters for their codes.

The Derry team posed with a #UnitedForEquality banner ahead of their 2023 clash with Kerry

“Rightly or wrongly, the GAA in 2024 does not govern ladies football and camogie. We do of course strive to maintain good relations with all parties and to be a positive influence where possible, but the ultimate responsibility in these matters is not ours.

“A single organisation will in time emerge, but until then it does a disservice to both of our sister organisations to seek to usurp them and involve the GAA in their issues.

“My fears here are for the integration process itself and I hope that unwitting damage has not been done to that project. We need to make sure that momentum towards integration is not undermined.”

Watch Cork v Kilkenny in the Allianz Hurling League on Saturday from 7.15pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, follow a live blog on rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app and listen to updates on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1

Watch highlights on Allianz League Sunday on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 9.30pm, follow a live blog every Sunday afternoon on rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app and listen to live updates on Sunday Sport


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