Croke Park are to take over the running of Páirc Uí Chaoimh after it emerged the cost of redeveloping the stadium came in almost €25m over budget.
The initial estimate for final costs of €86m is now expected to rise to up to €110m and alarmed GAA authorities have stepped in to cover the debt and take over the running of the stadium for up to 15 years.
"It became clear in the middle of the year that the amount spent on the stadium way exceeded what people thought," Croke Park stadium director Peter Mr McKenna told the Irish Examiner. "We’re probably close to €110 million as a final cost, and what was the ability to pay that?
"In order to stem the debt or put a shape to it, we needed an experienced management team involved. I think if it wasn’t an aligned set-up you’d be talking about a receivership or something like that. The ability to pay that amount of money back wasn’t there, but that’s not how we operate as an organisation."
McKenna revealed that the board of directors of the company that runs the stadium was unable to meet as they could not ask people to serve on a board if the company was going to be insolvent.
He reassured Cork fans that control over spending on county teams would not be affected but said it could have been if the GAA had not stepped in.
"The most important things are the teams, not the stadium"
"That’s a matter for the county board - but that’s where this problem was heading," he said. "There was massive debt and the stadium debt needed to be untangled from the county board accounts.
"The most important things are the teams, not the stadium. Looking at the stadium as a separate unit, which is now solvent, with the executive well represented on the board, is by far the best way to do it."
The two-and-a-half-year development of the Cork city stadium was initially projected to cost €70m and received grants from the GAA (€20m) and Government (€30m).
The 45,000-capacity venue was completed in 2017 but delays meant the Munster football and hurling finals could not be played there as originally planned.
McKenna also revealed that the stadium pitch, which was seen to cut up badly earlier in 2018, would have to be replaced, but that it may be too late to do so until 12 months' time.