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Turners Cross is an all-seater football stadium located in and synonymous with the district of Turners Cross in Cork, Ireland. It is home to the Munster Football Association,[4] and League of Ireland side Cork City.

Turners Cross
Crois an Tornóra
The Cross
Picture of Turners Cross, taken by Hugh Mansfield
LocationCurragh Road, Turners Cross, Cork
Coordinates51°53′7.9″N 8°28′3.9″W / 51.885528°N 8.467750°W / 51.885528; -8.467750Coordinates: 51°53′7.9″N 8°28′3.9″W / 51.885528°N 8.467750°W / 51.885528; -8.467750
Public transitCork railway station
Evergreen Road bus stop
OwnerMunster Football Association
OperatorMunster Football Association
Capacity7,485 (all-seated)[1][2]
Record attendance12,000[3]
(Cork City vs Dundalk, 21 April 1991)
SurfaceGrass
ScoreboardNo
Construction
OpenedMid-late 1800s
Renovated1980s, 2007
Tenants
Cork City F.C.

It was the first all-seated, all-covered stadium in Ireland following redevelopment in 2009, and it is currently one out of only two, the other being the new Aviva Stadium.

UseEdit

Cork City play their home games in the stadium. The ground also sees a large volume of matches every year under the auspices of both the Munster F.A. and the F.A.I., including local, regional, national, and international matches and cup finals at schoolboy, junior, intermediate, senior, and underage international level.

FacilitiesEdit

For many years Turners Cross was little more than a pitch with a few grassy banks and a covered terrace euphemistically called "The Shed". However, since the early 2000s, the stadium has been redeveloped by the Munster F.A. to become the only stadium in use in the League of Ireland that is all seated and all covered on all four sides.

As of 2015, the configuration of the stadium consists of the 1,857-seat covered "Donie Forde Stand", which holds the stadium control box, press broadcasting area, and the family section. This is faced by the 1,128-seat covered "Derrynane Road" stand.

At the western end of the ground is the covered St. Anne's Stand which has a capacity of 2,720. The newest stand (the "Joe Delaney Stand") is at the eastern end, on a site previously occupied by "The Shed". The Shed previously held over 2,500 supporters and was home to Cork City F.C.'s more vocal fans. This newly developed section seats 1,660 and was opened in March 2007.

HistoryEdit

While known locally and amongst fans as "The Cross", the ground has also been nicknamed "The Box" in the past. This accounts for the title of Plunkett Carter's book on Cork soccer, From The Lodge to The Box, where 'the lodge' refers to 'Flower Lodge'. Flower Lodge was originally owned by the Ancient Order of Hibernians and was the previous home of Cork soccer. This ground was subsequently sold to the Gaelic Athletic Association, and renamed Páirc Uí Rinn, for Christy Ring, a noted County Cork hurler.

Cork Constitution, then a rugby and cricket club, was the first club to lease the Turners Cross grounds in 1897. (A once popular trivia question was "Which President of Ireland scored a penalty at Turners Cross?" The answer is Éamon de Valera (1882–1975) who in his early years played rugby for Rockwell. The penalty in question was during a Rockwell vs Cork Constitution rugby match in the Munster Cup.)

Turners Cross was in use for association football by 1905,[5] and gaelic games by the 1920s. Something of a battle developed to secure permanent use of the grounds in the 1920s. Nemo Rangers secured the ground in 1926,[6] and sought help from the Cork County Board to make the situation permanent.[7] However costs forced Nemo to abandon Turners Cross in 1929,[8] with the Munster Football Association subsequently stating that they had 'acquired' the ground at their AGM two weeks later.[9] In order to provide a long-term home for the Munster F.A. and Cork soccer the FAI negotiated a 98-year lease on Turners Cross with the land's owner Helena O'Sullivan.[10] Subsequently, during the 1940s, Cork United (whose home grounds were at the Mardyke) also used the ground for training matches and 'B' team matches. In January 1947, following extensive flooding in the city, Cork United switched a league match with Drumcondra to Turners Cross at reputedly 15 minutes notice.[11]

When Evergreen United were elected to the League of Ireland in 1951 they became sub-tenants of the FAI at the ground in a sharing arrangement with the Munster F.A. Evergreen later changed their name to Cork Celtic. Celtic made it clear that without owning the ground it would only ever have a basic level of upkeep, and the playing surface was poor as a result for many years.[12] At the start of the 1977/78 season Celtic looked for a longer lease on Turners Cross in order to develop it for the purpose of raising additional income. The club had been in decline since winning the League in 1974, and saw developing Turners Cross as their only means of survival.[13] The FAI's legal advisers had previously been unable to find the property owner or their original lease, however a complex ownership structure was eventually unravelled.[14] Unable to resolve the tenancy situation with the FAI, Celtic spent no money on the upkeep of Turners Cross and it was eventually deemed unfit for use by the League for the 1978/79 season. As a result the club moved to Flower Lodge for what would be their final season - being expelled from the League in the summer of 1979. Despite this Cork Celtic's holding company still held the sub-lease on the ground.[15]

In 1980 a legal wrangle arose when Cork United (who, as Albert Rovers, had replaced Cork Hibernians in the League in 1976) announced plans to move from Flower Lodge to Turners Cross. Cork United were hoping that the ground's location and more compact space would attract more supporters. However the trustees of the defunct Cork Celtic club, still holding the sub-lease, demanded £10,000 to relinquish it.[16] With the help of Des Casey of Dundalk F.C. (the League's representative on the board of the FAI) the situation was resolved,[17] which allowed Cork United to call the ground 'home' for the next two seasons. However the playing surface remained notoriously bad, being branded 'the worst in the League', with Cork United also promising to upgrade the ground in the event of the lease situation being resolved.[18] After Cork United were expelled from the League in 1982 the FAI closed the ground,[19] then sold its interest in it to the Munster Football Association the following year.[20]

The Munster F.A. initiated a programme of ground improvements, spending approx £80,000 initially, and the ground was reopened in May 1985.[21] League of Ireland football was supposed to return to the Cross that Autumn via Amby Fogarty's new Cork Hibernians side. However the club was removed from the League of Ireland without playing a game as the Munster F.A. refused the new team a lease on the ground unless they had their own public liability insurance, which Hibernians could not afford.[22] Cork City, who had played their first two seasons in Flower Lodge after being elected to the League of Ireland in 1984, then sought a move to become tenants of the MFA at Turners Cross due to the cost of insurance at the Lodge.[23] The move was granted by the Munster F.A. Meanwhile the M.F.A. proceeded with the next stages of its planned improvements. A grant of £30,000 in 1989 was spent on cosmetic improvements to complete 'Phase Two'.[24]

Having failed to buy Flower Lodge in 1988,[25] Cork City moved to their own ground in Bishopstown in 1992.[26] With Cork City gone, the Munster F.A. were able to announce plans to invest up to £1.5 million in the ground.[27] Work on the main stand (what would become the Donie Ford Stand) costing £300,000 (made up of a government grant of £200,000 and an F.A.I. contribution of £100,000) was announced in 1996, bringing the stated spending to approx £750,000,[28] with the work being completed in 1998.[29] But Cork City's move to Bishopstown backfired and, following bankruptcy, the club returned to Turners Cross as tenants in 1996, where it has remained to date.[30][31]

In 2000 the Munster F.A. received a grant of £100,000 from the Department of Sport for further investment.[32] This started a new round of development in the first decade of the new century, where the Derrynane side of the ground was made all-seater, a covered all-seated stand was installed at the St. Anne's Road End of the ground, and the 'Shed' was replaced by a new, covered, all-seater stand - the Joe Delaney Stand.

Notable matches & eventsEdit

 
Colour from "shed-end" supporters ahead of a League of Ireland match in 2015

Turners Cross has hosted a small number of men's senior internationals, including a friendly between the national team and Belarus in May 2016 (1–2),[33][34] and a "B" team fixture against England in 1990 (4–1). Elsewhere in Cork, Flower Lodge hosted a full international on 26 May 1985 between Ireland and Spain (0–0), while The Mardyke hosted Ireland vs Hungary in 1939 (2–2).[35] The stadium has also hosted eight Republic of Ireland under-21 national football team games[36] and other international underage games – including games in the 1994 UEFA European Under-16 Football Championship.

In addition to soccer, rugby and gaelic games, boxing and gymkhana events have also been held at Turners Cross over the years.


On 16 October 2017, ex-hurricane Ophelia blew the roof off the Derrynane Road stand.[37]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://int.soccerway.com/teams/ireland-republic/cork-city-football-club/1185/venue/
  2. ^ "Turners Cross Seating Plan". Cork City FC. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Turner's Cross Stadium - Cork City Football Club". Corkcityfc.net. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  4. ^ Homepage of the Munster Football Association
  5. ^ "Cork Celtic v. Army Service Corps". Cork Examiner. 20 February 1905. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  6. ^ "GAA City Divisional Committee". Cork Examiner. 22 April 1926. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  7. ^ "Club's Application For a Grant". Cork Examiner. 3 June 1926. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  8. ^ "Cork GAA Ground Closed". Irish Independent. 20 June 1929. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  9. ^ "Annual Meeting of Munster Association". Cork Examiner. 3 July 1929. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  10. ^ "Munster Council Chairman". Cork Examiner. 9 June 1947. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  11. ^ "Cork's Stamina and Skill In Mud Got 4-1 Win". Irish Independent. 9 January 1947. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  12. ^ "Cork Celtic want to buy Turners Cross". Cork Examiner. 3 December 1961. Retrieved 21 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  13. ^ George, Bill (2 August 1977). "Cork Celtic's future depends on long term lease". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  14. ^ George, Bill (3 August 1977). "FAI and Celtic involved in buying Turners Cross". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  15. ^ George, Bill (23 July 1979). "Celtic are playing on". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  16. ^ George, Bill (6 September 1980). "Cork United optimistic". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  17. ^ George, Bill (25 October 1980). "FAI Control 'Cross'". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  18. ^ Gilleece, Dermot (20 February 1981). "Turners Cross Pitch Slammed". Irish Independent. Retrieved 23 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  19. ^ George, Bill (14 December 1982). "FAI to meet MFA on Turners Cross". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  20. ^ Spillane, Noel (13 June 1983). "MFA to purchase Turners Cross". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  21. ^ Spillane, Noel (27 April 1985). "Cross soon back in business". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  22. ^ George, Bill (3 September 1985). "Cork Hibs forced out". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 22 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  23. ^ Spillane, Noel (8 May 1986). "Decision time for Cork City". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  24. ^ "Cross plans on target". Cork Examiner. 29 July 1989. Retrieved 21 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  25. ^ O'Sullivan, Jim (19 March 1993). "A theatre of dreams". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 21 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  26. ^ Spillane, Noel (22 July 1992). "New era for City". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  27. ^ Stuart, Charlie (23 May 1992). "New-Look Turners". Irish Press. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  28. ^ Spillane, Noel (10 January 1996). "Minister calls for a return of Cork glory days". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 21 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  29. ^ "Turners Cross Stand Opening". Cork Examiner. 30 September 1998. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  30. ^ Thornley, Gerry (23 January 1996). "FAI to meet liquidator in effort to rescue Cork City". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  31. ^ Spillane, Noel (5 February 1996). "Hindmarch is delighted with charges". Cork Examiner. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  32. ^ "£100,000 grant for Turners Cross huge benefit to Cork City and the Munster Football Association". Cork Examiner. 29 July 2000. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Irish Newspaper Archives.
  33. ^ PJ Browne (28 March 2016). "FAI Confirm Another Warm-Up Game For Euro 2016". Balls.ie. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  34. ^ Miguel Delaney. "Ireland's Euro 2016 warm-up ends with a whimper as Belarus win in Cork". Independent.ie. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  35. ^ Byrne, Peter (1996). Football Association of Ireland: 75 years. Dublin: Sportsworld. p. 41. ISBN 1-900110-06-7.
  36. ^ "Ireland - U-21 Internationals". Rsssf.com. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  37. ^ Calnan, Denise (16 October 2017). "Roof of Cork City's football stadium blows off as Ophelia batters south of Ireland". Irish Independent. Retrieved 16 October 2017.

External linksEdit