What a mess
Fitzgerald Stadium closed for two months after burst pipes cause €100,000 worth of damage
KERRY County Board have been left counting the heavy cost of the recent Arctic spell with burst pipes causing an estimated €100,000 worth of damage at Fitzgerald Stadium.
The Killarney venue will be closed for the next two months because of the damage done to the dressing-rooms by burst water pipes on either Christmas or St Stephen's Day.
Two ceilings in the main dressing-rooms collapsed under the weight of the water, causing further extensive damage to the floors and toilets below.
Stadium staff had taken precautions during the pre-Christmas cold snap by leaving the heating on, but it appears that the diesel froze in the sub-zero spell, which turned off the heating.
The damage was only discovered on December 27 after alarms went off at the grounds and alerted the fire service and council officials.
The ultra-modern dressing-rooms were part of a major €4.8m revamp that was only opened in 2009 and it is believed that the damage could cost as much as €100,000 to repair. Insurance assessors visited the stadium this week.
"We were all desperately upset when we saw the damage to the new dressing-rooms," said Fitzgerald Stadium chairman Der Brosnan.
"Work has already begun on dismantling the ceilings and drying out the areas affected. It will take up to eight weeks to get the repair work completed, so a number of games will have to be moved to other venues."
Tomorrow's Waterford Crystal Cup SH match between Kerry and Cork IT is the first of those; it has been moved to Austin Stack Park, Tralee.
Kerry open their National League campaign with a glamour tie against All-Ireland champions Cork on February 6, but that had already been fixed for Tralee.
Brosnan remained hopeful that Killarney will be ready to host their next home league game, against Galway on March 13.
Westmeath's county ground, Cusack Park in Mullingar, also suffered water damage over Christmas, which is why their O'Byrne Cup match with Dublin was moved to the St Loman's club earlier this week.
Shelbourne Park dog track was another prominent sporting venue hit badly by burst pipes over the holiday period.