Announcing the appointment, Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald explained: "We are delighted to attract someone with John's experience in developing and managing new facilities. His success in managing the €300 million Mahon Point development in Cork demonstrates his facility management expertise in addition to a proven operations track record in busy visitor environments.
"We will also benefit from John's experience in dealing with the conversion of new build facilities into thriving customer and service focused centres."
Among the responsibilities for Cantwell will be to manage all aspects of the Stadium. This includes systems development in the start up stage to daily operations that will cover all financial, operational, safety and commercial activities for event and non event days. The Stadium Director will also be involved in future stadium and facilities development undertaken by Munster Rugby.
Commenting on his appointment, Cantwell said: "It is a great opportunity to develop the Stadium into a multi purpose facility beyond just match day events. The opportunities that exist to develop the Stadium commercially are just one aspect of the role where my previous experience will be very useful.
"The completed Stadium has the potential to make a significant commercial contribution to the future of Munster Rugby and also to Limerick city business in terms of economic spin-offs from stadium events."
Prior to managing Mahon Point, Cantwell was Commercial and Operations manager for Shannon Heritage responsible for six visitor centres throughout the Mid West. He previously held a number of senior management roles with the Martin Retail Group in London and managed all retail operations in Manchester International Airport.
He has consulted widely on establishing green field visitor centres and developing commercial and operational plans for a number of established visitor attractions across the country.
The €40 million development of the New Limerick Rugby Stadium is scheduled for completion in September 2008 with a capacity of 26,000. The new facilities will include two large suites with seating capacities of 500 and 200. The Stadium will also feature 20 new corporate boxes with extensive catering and hospitality facilities available throughout the ground.