Donnelly confident Páirc Ui Chaoimh will be ready

The Munster Council is confident that Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be fit for purpose for the opening round of the Munster senior hurling championship between Cork and Tipperary on May 12.

“At this stage, absolutely,” said Ed Donnelly of the Munster Council when asked about the troubled Cork venue’s readiness.

“As we all know there were problems earlier this year but Cork have put a big effort into getting the surface right.

It’s a fantastic stadium, the playing surface had some issues but from our perspective, at this stage, two weeks out, we’re extremely happy and confident it’ll be in top class order for May 12.

Semple Stadium in Thurles has also had issues in recent weeks but Donnelly said the Tipperary venue wouldn’t have been an option if Páirc Uí Chaoimh was ruled out.

“A home and away arrangement wouldn’t have worked out anyway because you can only have two home matches - if the game wasn’t in Páirc Uí Chaoimh it wouldn’t have gotten back to Semple Stadium so much as gone to a neutral venue like Limerick.

“Thurles had a different problem in that there was probably overuse in January and February, but I’m hearing that it’ll be back in tip-top shape.”

Donnelly added that by a certain point - tickets going on sale - the Council has to be confident the venue will be ready. “For us that point was last Wednesday, when tickets went on sale. It might be embarrassing if the pitch wasn’t ready, but it would also be a logistical nightmare to put tickets on sale and then find, a week later, that the game can’t go ahead in the venue.”

There’s a new venue on the circuit this year in Walsh Park, Waterford, which hosts two games.

“Whatever you lose out on in terms of numbers you gain in terms of atmosphere there, which should be absolutely fantastic,” said Donnelly.

“We saw that last year with Cusack Park in Ennis, which became a bit of a cauldron for Clare. I’m sure that Paraic Fanning (Waterford manager) and his lads will want the same for the visit of Clare - and Clare found out in the league quarter-final that it can be a hard place to visit.”

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