Construction of the “stands” at Mary Immaculata Community College will get under way almost immediately, under the guidance of FAI’s consulting engineer, Brian McCann.
The pitch has been treated with 90 tonnes of sand and is being mowed twice weekly for the August 6 match between Liverpool and Dunmanway Town XI.
“Liverpool have insisted that the grass has to be one inch high. John Burke from Cork Sportsground Service is overseeing the pitch. It is being spiked and fertilised,” Dunmanway Town manager John Buckley said.
The club, meanwhile, is encountering a problem with rabbits. “They have been digging holes in the pitch and every time the lads fill them in, the rabbits dig them back out.”
As the club can’t risk players worth millions of pounds twisting their ankles, the problem is being addressed and the pitch will be fully inspected to ensure it is in pristine condition.
Brian McCann has worked on Croke Park and Lansdowne Road over the years so erecting stands in a small town pitch should not be a big problem for him.
“There will be four stands on each side and they will take around six days to put up. They will be similar to the ones people will have seen at the recent British Open,” Mr McCann said.
“We did the same thing last August for the league cup final when Wexford took on Derry City.”
Declan McCluskey, FAI’s safety officer, is helping to correlate meetings between the HSE, ambulance service, fire brigade and gardaí to ensure every eventuality is planned for.
He knows the area well as he was previously a Garda and was once stationed at nearby Clonakilty where he served as superintendent.
“So far things are going very well,” he said.
The area’s current garda superintendent, Pat Maher, said he will be drafting extra gardaí in for the game, being deployed within the stadium and on the outside to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.
It is expected the town square will be closed off entirely on the day and match traffic will be directed to five peripheral car parks.
“The two big sites we will be using as car parks will be at the Showgrounds where the Ballabuidhe horse fair is held and the Sam Maguire GAA pitch. There will also be smaller sites,” Supt Maher said. “We are continuing to have meetings to discuss traffic management and a security plan.
“I’m confident that everything will go well. The most important thing will be that people enjoy the match.”