Wednesday 24 January 2018

Take That won't disrupt Leinster semis

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The Leinster Council have been guaranteed that the Croke Park pitch will be ready for its SFC semi-finals on June 26.

Croke Park is to undergo extensive repair work in the week before the football semi-finals after the two Take That concerts the previous weekend.

The chart-topping group are back at Croke Park for two concert dates on June 18 and 19, but work on repairing the pitch where the stage will be will begin almost immediately after the end of the second concert. Stadium director Peter McKenna has assured the provincial body that there is no question of unavailability.

"It is nowhere near the body of work that was completed after the U2 concerts two years ago," McKenna said.

"We said that we would not undertake that scale again. There was a lot of angst in the local community at the time.

"This time it's not a case of relaying the pitch, it's extensive repair work in particular areas, nothing like 2009. The stage is quite impressive, but overall not on the scale of U2, so it's really only one end."

Two years ago, Croke Park staff and contractors hired to relay the pitch worked tirelessly to have the ground ready for All-Ireland quarter-finals.

The work was completed despite protests from local residents enraged at the continuous convoy of trucks that carried the U2 stage out and the new pitch in over the course of two days.

GAA president Christy Cooney and director general Paraic Duffy met with residents who voiced their disapproval. Prior to the U2 concerts, workers began slicing off the original sod within an hour of Dublin's Leinster title success over Kildare.

Elsewhere, the Kerry hurling camp is fuming over having to travel to Newry for their Christy Ring Cup semi-final against Down on Saturday week. Kingdom officials are not happy with the decision of Croke Park to toss for the venue -- which Kerry lost.

Kerry chairman Jerome Conway told this week's county board meeting that it only seemed logical that the two unbeaten teams, Kerry and Wicklow, would get home advantage but the fixture-makers decided otherwise.

Two years ago Kerry had to travel to Carlow because unbeaten teams had home advantage in the semi-finals, and last year an unbeaten Kerry team was told it had to play at a neutral venue against Wicklow.

Irish Independent

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