Cork GAA chairman Ger Lane has defended the significant increase in club championship games awarded to Páirc Uí Rinn in 2016.
The Boreenmanna Road venue played host to 96 adult county championship games this year, an increase of 50% on the 2014 figure.
Páirc Uí Chaoimh was in operation two years ago and did stage 23 county championship fixtures, but the closure of the main county ground at the end of 2014 cannot be solely attributed to the steep rise in Páirc Uí Rinn activity given this year’s figure represents an increase of 35% on the 71 games Páirc Uí Rinn hosted in 2015.
The ground was particularly busy over the last two months, having hosted 32 county championship games since the opening week of September, as well as the recent Sciath na Scol finals.
Lane does not believe the pitch was over-worked or over-used. He pointed to the revamped Premier U21HC as a leading factor for the increased demand on Páirc Uí Rinn — 15 of the 32 fixtures in this competition have been played at the county’s secondary ground.
“It is an excellent venue, excellently looked after by a professional company and our own groundsman, and the condition of the field has been excellent throughout the year,” Lane remarked.
“Granted, in more recent weeks, because of the lack of growth, the pitch was beginning to show a bit of wear and tear. We’ve been very happy with the playing surface, though, and it is well capable of taking that amount of games. The U21 hurling championship has heavily contributed to the increase in the number of games played there.”
Lane rejected the suggestion that the venue was receiving too substantial a slice of the pie — of the 378 adult county championship games played in Cork this year, one-quarter were contested at Páirc Uí Rinn.
“The decision of the board is that we play all our championship semi-finals and finals in Páirc Uí Rinn. We do have some fantastic other venues and we use them throughout the year. Quite a number of our county championship games, before the semi-final and final stages, are played out at country venues.”
He added: “Practically all of our semi-finals and finals will be played at Páirc Uí Chaoimh next year.”
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