Hurlers won’t echo Jim Gavin’s pitch complaints

Hurlers won’t echo Jim Gavin’s pitch complaints
Séamus Callanan of Tipperary in action against Jack Kelly and Ryan Mullaney of Laois. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Jim Gavin appeared to be less than pleased with aspects of the Croke Park pitch on Saturday evening but questions over the surface’s quality were met with some puzzlement by the hurling fraternity yesterday.

The Dublin manager was seen inspecting an area of the pitch near Hill 16 prior to his side’s Super 8 defeat of Cork two days ago and in the wake of the recent Westlife concerts at the venue. 

Gavin’s displeasure at the use of HQ for musical events mid-summer was already on record.

“It’s obvious...I'm sure from your vantage you’ll have a much better view of the game than I’ll ever have,” he told the media on Saturday evening after a game in which some players struggled to retain their balance at times.

“You could see at ground level anyway that the new sod that was laid there probably a few days ago … which I’m sure puts the ground staff, who do an excellent job, under very probably challenging circumstances.”

His opinion on concerts haven’t changed, he insisted, though he was reluctant to debate it too much given he had made his thoughts clear on the matter two summers ago after U2 and Coldplay had set up shop at the stadium.

“It’s a stadium built for Gaelic Games, first and foremost,” he said then.

That has to be the priority. That’s for Croke Park to reflect on, to impart management and leadership within the GAA to say what’s right for the games. 

"It is what it is. You’d hope that Croke Park will reflect on it.”

In any case, there were no issues for the hurlers from Cork, Kilkenny, Laois or Tipperary yesterday with the latter’s Noel McGrath breaking into a wide smile when asked about the pitch and how it played.

“No problems with that pitch, lads. If you let me out there tomorrow I’d go again, no problem.”

Cork manager John Meyler was even more forthright.

“No.The pitch was perfect, the day was perfect, a slight breeze blowing into the Canal End but they’re not... There was no excuses around the pitch or anything like that.

“It was just that goal after half-time got Kilkenny going and it stopped our momentum when possibly we might have got another few scores there.”

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