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Croke Park dug up for U2 as Pussycat Dolls take over Fitzgerald Stadium

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Work commences on preparing the Croke Park pitch for the U2 concerts

Work commences on preparing the Croke Park pitch for the U2 concerts

Work commences on preparing the Croke Park pitch for the U2 concerts

WITHIN an hour of Dublin beating Kildare in a pulsating Leinster football championship final at Croke Park yesterday, a convoy of heavy machinery had moved in to begin digging up the pitch surface to accommodate the three U2 concerts that will be held there next weekend.

The last of the 74,563 crowd were making their way out of the stadium as earth movers and dumping trucks commenced pulling up the surface. The main body of work is expected to be completed by tomorrow.

GAA officials are confident that, once the concerts have concluded, the ground staff will have plenty of time to ensure that the playing surface is in tip-top condition for the All-Ireland football championship quarter-finals on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Killarney's Fitzgerald Stadium is also in the news for musical reasons. It has been ruled out for Kerry's third-round qualifier against Sligo because Pussycat Dolls, the all-girl American group, are performing there on Saturday night. Tralee has been nominated as the alternative venue and Kerry have requested an afternoon throw-in.

The Kingdom seem certain to be without Kieran Donaghy, who is expecting confirmation today that he broke a bone in his right foot during Saturday's win over Longford.

The football qualifier draw has thrown up another all-Ulster heavyweight clash for the third successive week, with Donegal getting home advantage for their showdown against Derry.

At least one All-Ireland quarter-final will have to be put back by a week because of Saturday's draw between Wexford and Roscommon.

Roscommon are expected to have home advantage for the replay next weekend, with the winners facing Meath in the third-round qualifier in Navan a week later. As a consequence, the fourth-round qualifier involving Meath, Wexford or Roscommon will also have to be put back by a week as a midweek fixture is likely to be ruled out.

For the third successive week Mick O'Dwyer's Wicklow will have home advantage against Ulster opposition, with Down the latest visitors.

In hurling it was pre-ordained that Galway and Cork would meet again once Laois advanced to Phase Three of the qualifiers as they had already met the Tribesmen in the Leinster championship.

Venues and times for the two games (Limerick and Laois meet in the other) will be announced today. A Saturday double header in Thurles is likely.

QUALIFIERS DRAW: