Thursday 28 July 2016

McKenna: Pitch will be fine after Croke Park Classic

Published 08/08/2014 | 02:30

Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna has allayed fears that the playing surface will not have recovered in time after the Croke Park Classic to host an All-Ireland SFC semi-final the next day.

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Penn State and University of Central Florida will compete in the inaugural American colleges football game on August 30 and, despite worries that the pitch would be considerably damaged by the sport, McKenna is confident that it will not affect the surface.

"Croke Park is a natural surface pitch. We don't have any artificial fibre in there and the players will use cleats rather than studs," McKenna said.

"At the moment we probably have about 95pc coverage which means the grass is as good as we've seen it. The pitch is going to take a knock, but it won't be an unrecoverable hammering."

One of the major concerns had been surrounding whether or not the markings of the American Football gridiron would be removed in time for the All-Ireland semi-final.

McKenna stressed that the paint that will be used on the Croke Park surface has been fully tested and that the lines will be removed by the time the SFC game takes place.

American footballers Simon Greene, Alan McDonagh, Neil Lynch, Eoin Hallissey and Chris Kane in Temple Bar ahead of the Croke Park Classic on August 30
American footballers Simon Greene, Alan McDonagh, Neil Lynch, Eoin Hallissey and Chris Kane in Temple Bar ahead of the Croke Park Classic on August 30

While tickets for the 'Croke Park Classic' are selling fast, McKenna is hoping that plenty of more spectators will be attracted closer to the date.

"We're through about 45,000 tickets and 20,000 of them have been sold abroad. There's 16,000 Americans travelling and 4,000 from Europe coming – that's an estimated €30m stimulus for the economy," he added.

Irish Independent

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