Nowlan Park has won the 2018 County Pitch of the Year Award.
The Kilkenny city venue was chosen after a thorough adjudication process, with McGovern Park, South Ruislip in London announced as the runner-up.
Other venues including Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon, Semple Stadium, Tipperary, Innovate Wexford Park, Wexford and Netwatch Cullen Park, Carlow were shortlisted as high achievers in the competition for excellence in playing surfaces.
Assessment of the grounds nationwide was completed by Stuart Wilson, Pitch Manager at Croke Park and the GAA National Games Development Centre, and by Dr Stephen Barker of the Sports Research Institute, who visited all six venues.
The process involved scoring and feedback from referees during the National Leagues in spring, and took into consideration a Pitch Quality Assessment based on performance standards, construction, management program, environmental conditions and usage levels.
The awards scheme is part of a wider initiative to improve the standards of playing surfaces around the country and to share some of the expertise and experience used at Croke Park and from the GAA’s National Pitch Committee.
Commenting on the scheme and the results, GAA President John Horan said: “I would like to congratulate all the team who are responsible for the pitch in Nowlan Park on winning this award. It’s a pitch that gets more than its fair share of important, high profile matches and thanks to the time, dedication and investment, there is a surface there worthy of the great occasions hosted by Nowlan Park.
“This is an important scheme for the GAA to champion and I want to thank Stuart Wilson and also the National Pitch Committee for setting standards and encouraging our ground staff around the country to ensure that our pitches are in the best possible condition for our great Games.”
The grounds team from Nowlan Park will receive a specially commissioned award and also pitch supplies thanks to Irish Turfcare, ICL and Campey Turfcare Systems.