Tipperary officials have been informed the system will be “ready to go for the championship” and could be primed for the Division 1 semi-finals if they are fixed for Thurles on April 17. Failing that, Semple Stadium could stage the May 1 final — it has hosted eight of the last 11 NHL deciders.
The score detection technology was used in a non-live capacity for the Tipperary hurlers’ three Allianz League home games against Dublin, Waterford and last weekend’s visit of Cork. It was also trialled in the Na Piarsaigh-Oulart-the-Ballagh All-Ireland club SHC semi-final last month.
Hurling has always been regarded as the true litmus test for HawkEye and it may again be tested for next Monday’s All-Ireland colleges HC final between Ardscoil Rís and St Kieran’s College.
However, the company’s officials are now satisfied it is ready to come into operation following on from its implementation at Croke Park in 2013.
“HawkEye needed a few games to trial the system over the last couple of months and they’ve done that now and it will be ready to go for the championship,” said Tipperary secretary Tim Floyd. “There were our hurlers’ home games and the All-Ireland club semi-final and now everything seems to be in order for it to go ahead.”
Just as in Croke Park, HawkEye will come in a year later than anticipated due to teething problems. Floyd didn’t rule out the possibility of large mobile screens being rolled into Thurles, which would signify to supporters whether a ball has gone between the points or wide. However, the likelihood is it will be left to the referee to signify whether a scoring attempt has been deemed good or not.
“It’ll be more like rugby,” said Floyd. “The referee will relay the communication he has received from the box.”
Excluding qualifiers, Thurles could stage as many as seven championship matches this summer.
It has already been confirmed as the venue for the Munster SHC semi-final meeting of Clare and Waterford on June 6. Should Cork beat Tipperary on May 22, their clash with Limerick will also take place at Semple Stadium while it could host the Munster SHC final on July 10.
Should Tipperary beat Waterford in their Munster SFC opener, their June 11/12 semi-final against Cork will take place in Thurles. The double-header All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals have also been played at the 53,000-capacity venue the last six seasons.