Kildare have grounds for concern after safety audit
Published 28/10/2011 | 05:00
KILDARE County Board are going to have to improve their home ground in Newbridge if they don't want to have its capacity slashed to just over 6,000.
The official capacity of St Conleth's Park is currently between 11,000 and 12,000, but the latest health and safety audit of the venue has threatened to halve that -- which would make hosting championship matches there virtually impossible -- unless improvements are made.
The Lilywhites' venue is not the only one under the microscope due to the most recent health and safety audits of county grounds commissioned by the GAA.
Officials from all county boards were called to Croke Park recently for a two-day event management course, where central officials stressed the importance of health and safety at all venues.
Kildare chairman John McMahon confirmed last night that they have received a draft report on St Conleth's Park and are looking to find a solution to all of the issues it raised.
"This is just a draft document and is very much subject to review," he said. "We are examining it in great detail and striving to find agreement on all of the items it has raised. We could put our heads in the sand but I agree with the association, that health and safety has to be a primary concern for us all."
Kildare are looking at the possibility of using the space underneath the stand to expand its capacity and it's also expected they will be forced to get rid of the section of grassed terrace that remains on the opposite sideline.
Kildare had planned to build a new multi-million euro state-of-the-art county ground and headquarters at Old Connell.
However, the demise of the Celtic Tiger has forced them to shelve those plans for the moment, leaving them with an ageing ground that needs urgent attention if they are to continue to be able to host major games there.