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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 25 March, 2019

Jim Gavin concern for Croke Park pitch post-Taylor Swift concerts as Leinster final looms

Four games are set to take place on the newly relaid pitch before Dublin take on Laois on Sunday afternoon.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated Jun 20th 2018, 8:30 AM

JIM GAVIN HAS questioned Croke Park’s move to host two Taylor Swift concerts at the venue little over a week before the Leinster SFC final between Dublin and Laois.

The Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher finals are set to take place at Croke Park on Saturday, while Kildare and  Meath will contest the Leinster JFC final before the senior provincial final throws-in.

“Are there hurling games on Saturday?” the Dublin manager asked. “There are three on Saturday. When did the concert finish? Saturday.

“Stuart (Wilson, Croke Park pitch manager) does a fantastic job, I was only talking to him before the throw-in the last day and I was remarking how well he gets the pitch.

“They are an outstanding grounds team in Croke Park and no doubt they did their very best but probably the administration doesn’t help them by putting them in that situation in trying to turn that pitch around in six days.”

Gavin raised this issue multiple times last season as a section of the pitch near Hill 16 was torn up and relaid twice during the month after Coldplay and U2 played concerts at the venue.

Michael Bublé is set to play a fully seated gig at HQ on 7 July, and pitch will have to be relaid once again before the Super 8s begin the following weekend.

“Another concert, is there?” asked Gavin, who was unaware the Canadian singer will be playing at Croke Park next month.

Jim Gavin Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“All I am interested in is Sunday, can’t help what the pitch is like. I know Stuart and the boys will do a fantastic job and will do their part. And in fairness, it has been in great condition but has to be challenging for them.”

Roscommon boss Kevin McStay was also critical of the quality of the turf last season after their All-Ireland quarter-final draw with Mayo, when a number of players on both teams slipped during the game.

“I don’t want to be dissing on Croke Park but it’s not good enough,” McStay said last July.

“If one of our young corner-backs slipped there at a crucial moment and the ball ends up in the net, he’ll never be let forget that moment.”

Gavin added that Dublin players have never voiced their concerns over the standard of the pitch.

“They’ve never said it to me. Not once. But obviously we were looking in at other games that were played. The traction sometimes isn’t what it should be on a wet day so hopefully it doesn’t rain.

“I don’t think rain is forecast.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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