MEATH have gone a long way towards substantially restoring the capacity of their headquarters at Navan for Saturday's Division 2 opener against Monaghan, writes Cliona Foley
Like many inter-county stadia, Pairc Tailteann's capacity was reduced on health and safety grounds, based on findings in last year's Slattery Report.
Navan's capacity was halved to 10,000 but, following renovations, the ground was inspected last week and officials believe it can now safely hold close to 18,000.
A big crowd is expected for Saturday night's league opener against Monaghan as it is the first time that Royals manager Seamus McEnaney has faced his native Farney men in a competitive fixture since taking over the Meath reins last year.
And the fact that ex-Meath manager Eamonn O'Brien is now helping out Monaghan boss Eamonn McEneaney adds further spice to the meeting and should draw a decent crowd.
But county secretary Cyril Creavin said yesterday that they have no worries about their ground capacity.
"Most of the work we've done so far concentrated on our main terrace (on the hospital side) which is now back to full capacity," he said.
"It included putting in new crash barriers and we had the inspectors here last week who were very satisfied."
Creavin does not believe Saturday's attendence will test the capacity but locals believe a sizeable crowd will turn up to watch a close to full-strength Meath side.
Meath still have plans to build a new terrace on the grass bank at the O'Mahony's club-house end, but this may yet be deferred until next year.
The new MSA Safe capacity standards used in the Slattery Report saw adjustments to most county grounds but those most dramatically reduced were Newbridge, Navan and Cusack Park in Ennis.
County grounds in Northern Ireland had the least improvements to make, largely because they have heretofore operated under different health and safety guidelines.