The GAA have purchased farmland in Naul in north Dublin to harvest playing surfaces for Croke Park and other GAA stadia, writes John Fogarty.
GAA commercial and stadium director Peter McKenna today revealed the association hope to harvest the area next year with a mind to replacing the Croke Park surface.
In the past, the GAA have had to import sods from England but have taken the decision to cultivate their own having experienced difficulties in sourcing them. It is also hoped the GAA will be able to sell the turf to other sports both here and internationally.
McKenna denied that criticism of the Croke Park surface in recent years following concerts there had compelled them to make the decision. He noted there were negative comments about it in recent years - Dublin manager Jim Gavin has questioned the logic of organising gigs there during the Championship - but stressed it was a pro-active move and had been taking soundings from players and managers for years.
Work on the new handball centre on the Cusack Stand side, which will also see the GAA contribute €1.6 million to Dublin County Council for the redevelopment of social housing in Croke Villas and provide a social centre, is set to begin next week.
The GAA are planning to create a new stadium entrance as part of the work.