Sporting 'heritage trail' could be on the cards for Cork, says Lord Mayor

Proposed statues to honour Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara could see the creation of a series of sculptures across the city.

Declan Kidney watches as a temporary statue created to promote the Heineken Cup is moved into place (file photo).
Declan Kidney watches as a temporary statue created to promote the Heineken Cup is moved into place (file photo).
Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

THE STATUES OF Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara proposed for Cork city centre could be the first step in the creation of a new sporting heritage trail, the Lord Mayor has said.

Speaking to this evening, Cllr Terry Shannon said that Cork City Council was “very supportive” of the plan to erect bronze sculptures of the stars in honour of Cork’s contribution to Munster rugby over the years.

The Irish Examiner reported yesterday that a site at Daunt Street has been chosen for the privately-funded tribute which was spearheaded by Munster supporters Paul and Pauline McCarthy.

Although the plans still have to be formally approved by the council, Shannon confirmed that the process has started and that there was unlikely to be any major opposition.

These two original commissions could kick-start a drive to create a heritage trail which would immortalise more of Cork’s sporting heroes in a series of statues, Shannon added.

“We’re very supportive of the project,” Shannon said. “We feel it’s very appropriate that we celebrate Cork’s sporting heritage.”

“Cork is well known as a great sporting city. Over the years, we’ve had Roy Keane, athletes like Sonia O’Sullivan and a whole load of GAA stars.

“The proposal to build these statues fits in very nicely with our image of the city and with the council’s own tourism policy.

It’s possible that this project could be the first step in a series of statues which would form a trail to celebrate all of the city’s sports stars – Roy, Sonia, the whole lot.

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The creation of a sporting “trail” is one which has already been developed in a number of cities across the world. American sporting icons Ted Williams, Red Auerbach and Doug Flutie are among those honoured by statues in Boston.

Acknowledging role models such as Stringer and O’Gara can only be seen as a positive step, said Shannon.

“My view of it is that this project is a very positive thing for the city. It celebrates sport and the contribution which it makes to everyone’s life.

It’s part of our philosophy to celebrate success. These stars are role models for our young people and its important that we highlight their contribution to the city and to the country.

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