The Cork footballers' final Super 8s game will not take place at Páirc Uí Chaoimh as work on a replacement pitch will begin next Monday.
The clash with Roscommon, to take place on Sunday, August 4, at 4pm, will be switched to Páirc Uí Rinn as a result.
SIS Pitches Ltd., who will undertake the works, indicated that an immediate start date is "critical to achieving maximum grass growth and ensuring the availability of the pitch for all of Cork's home Allianz League games in 2020," the Board of Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Cork County Board said in a statement
Any delay would compromise the possibility of a successful January 2020 opening, according to experts involved in the process.
The tender price has come in within the amount allowed in the €95.8m estimate of the final cost of the stadium announced earlier this year, the statement added. That cost is close to €10m more than projected upon the completion of works in 2017.
The complete replacement of the pitch, which has suffered problems since the stadium's opening, will see a reinforced pitch installed, "bringing it in line with the most up-to-date pitch construction technology and performance available today". It will also feature a synthetic surround around the pitch.
SIS Pitches are also providing a contract guarantee for the performance of the pitch.
"I am delighted that work is commencing this month as indicated earlier in the year, when the decision was announced that the pitch would be closed for replacement after the Munster finals," said Cork County Board Chairperson Tracey Kennedy.
We cannot ask our teams and supporters to endure another season where our flagship stadium is unavailable to host the games it was built for, and it is absolutely critical now that we have a high-quality, winter-proof pitch available to host all of the inter-county and club fixtures that we wish to play at Páirc Uí Chaoimh each year.
"I am confident that SIS will provide that for us.
"I acknowledge and share the disappointment of many that our senior footballers cannot play their home All-Ireland Quarter-Final Phase 3 game against Roscommon in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and if there was any way in which the match could have been accommodated without risk to the future success of the new pitch, it would have been done.
"However, our focus has to be on safeguarding our pitch for all our teams far into the future. We look forward to welcoming our own and our visiting supporters to Páirc Uí Rinn for the game."
In a statement, the key benefits outlined included:
- The future-proofing of a pitch profile construction for many years to come through the use of new technology (gravel raft) and completely new materials that must pass rigorous specification criteria.
- Providing a reinforced structure of pitch profile and surface to significantly increase the underfoot stability for all players, particularly at times where grass growth is curtailed due to temperature and light conditions.
- To provide a pitch that can facilitate double-headers/multiple matches with little if any decline in performance.
- To provide the ability to play more club matches particularly at the back end of the season when growing conditions are typically more challenging.
- To provide a synthetic surround that reduces damage to the playing area through the turning of maintenance equipment.
- To provide a synthetic surround that creates the opportunity to increase sponsorship opportunities with removable 3D logos etc for individual matches.
SIS Pitches is an Irish-owned company with 420 global employees and a €68m turnover.
All eyes on Luzhniki Stadium with SIS Pitches on-hand to maintain most high-tech pitch in World Cup history. Luzhniki Stadium will host equivalent of full season of games typically played on a Premiership pitch – in four weeks - read more at https://t.co/o0llfh7Xfr pic.twitter.com/KHIlnsQodw— SIS Pitches (@SISPitches) June 14, 2018
Just after the announcement, the GAA confirmed the times and dates for the final round of Super 8s games.
In Group 1, Mayo will host Donegal at Elverys MacHale Park on Saturday, August 3, at 6pm. At the same time, Kerry will travel to Páirc Tailteann to meet Meath.
The following day, Sunday, August 4, while Cork are facing Roscommon, Tyrone will welcome Dublin to Healy Park. Both Group 2 games throw-in at 4pm.