Lady Luck smiles on Páirc Uí Chaoimh
Cork may not have enjoyed much good fortune on the playing fields in recent times but their luck has certainly held in the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoímh, which has been greatly helped by the mild winter.
Not a single day's work was lost due to bad weather in recent months, while higher-than-average temperatures ensured unusually strong growth in a pitch which was seeded last autumn. "The grass has been cut a few times already - the growth has been excellent," said the chairman of the Stadium Steering Committee, Bob Ryan.
The roof will be fitted to the south stand over the next few weeks as the redevelopment continues towards a projected completion date of June 18.
That would leave the 45,000-capacity stadium available for the Munster football and hurling finals on July 2 and 9 respectively. However, that is contingent on Cork and Kerry reaching the football final and on a suitable pairing for the hurling decider.
Cork played Kerry twice (draw and replay) in Killarney in the 2015 Munster final but the province's 'Big Two' did not meet last year after Tipperary stunned the Rebels in the semi-final.
"We're still very much on target for a June completion. The good weather over the winter meant that building work wasn't interrupted at all and we were helped too by the higher-than-usual temperatures which have been great for the pitch.
"Temperatures are always that bit higher down here anyway so we gained on the double with the mild winter. It has made things that bit easier to keep to our time-scale," said Ryan.
Most of the pitch was seeded last autumn but a section around the perimeter had to be left clear for work on the stands and terraces.
Turf will be rolled out in those areas at the end of March to complete a surface which Ryan says will be "top class" and ready for action in July.
Naming rights are being sought for the new stadium, which has cost €80 million.
Previously redeveloped in 1976, Páirc Uí Chaoimh hosted its last major inter-county game in 2014, when Cork beat Limerick in the Munster hurling final.