‘No issue with Páirc pitch’ after Sheeran concerts

Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium director Bob Ryan says “there’ll be no issue with the pitch” for tomorrow week’s Munster SHC opener between Cork and Clare at the venue.

A large area of the playing surface was relaid with sods soon after Ed Sheeran’s three concerts last weekend, primarily at the Town End, where the stage was situated.

It’s now a question of the new turf knotting in with other sods and the existing grass, but Ryan isn’t perturbed.

“All work is progressing as per plan,” he said. “The work is ongoing and they will be working right up to the match. We have no fear or concern about it.”

The pitch came in for heavy criticism following the Division 1A hurling game between Cork and Waterford at the end of February, when there was a large amount of sand on top of the surface.

The Irish Examiner reported at the time that there would be no further playing action on the field until May 20 and so it transpired, with the Cork-Waterford relegation play-off, fixed for Cork, played at Páirc Uí Rinn.

There’ll be no issue with the pitch,” Ryan affirmed.

The former Cork chairman said John Meyler’s squad will have access to the pitch should they require it before the clash with Clare.

“We would never refuse our own players the chance to check it out beforehand.”

Like last year, HawkEye score technology won’t be available at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

It’s easy enough to have it in Croke Park, but we don’t as yet have it,” Ryan added.

Páirc Uí Chaoimh could host as many as nine inter-county games this summer: Cork hurlers’ confirmed home Munster SHC fixtures against Clare and Limerick, Waterford’s “home” clash with Tipperary in the same competition, the Munster senior finals in both codes, a provincial SFC semi-final should Waterford beat Tipperary, All-Ireland SHC quarter-final(s) and one Super 8 game, should Cork footballers make the quarter-final stages.

Meanwhile, Brian Cody has kept faith with the bulk of the team that won this year’s Allianz League title for Sunday’s clash with Dublin at Parnell Park in the first round of the Leinster hurling championship. Former All Star Ger Aylward replaces Alan Murphy in the only change to the team that accounted for Tipperary in the league decider at Nowlan Park, with Paul Murphy and Colin Fennelly both kept in reserve after recently rejoining the squad following their tours of duty with the defence forces.

Seven players will make their championship debuts for the Cats if they start as selected, while Richie Hogan remains absent from the matchday panel.

Dublin manager Pat Gilroy has called on three members of the Cuala club to bolster his panel, with Cian O’Callaghan and Seán Moran set to man the central spots in the defence, while Jake Malone will start at right wing-forward. Paddy Smyth and Bill O’Carroll will make their first ever championship appearances in the two corner-back slots, while Conal Keaney and Danny Sutcliffe join Malone in the half-forward line.

Brothers Brian and Glen Malone will make landmark appearances for Wexford in the Leinster football championship later this afternoon, after both men were named for the Model County’s home clash with Laois. Brian will make his 150th competitive appearance at midfield, while Glen will make his debut at wing back.

Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher, Ryan Mullaney, PJ Scully and Cian Taylor were all drafted into the Laois hurling team by manager Eamon Kelly, as they prepare for a crucial Joe McDonagh Cup clash with Kerry in Tralee, while Fintan O’Connor will welcome Shane Nolan back into his lineup after the Crotta O’Neills man missed the Kingdom’s three-point defeat to Carlow last week. Colum Harty drops out to make way in an otherwise unchanged side.

KILKENNY (SHC v Dublin):

E Murphy (Glenmore); J Holden (Ballyhale Shamrocks), P Walsh (Tullaroan), P Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels); C Delaney (Erin’s Own), C Buckley (Dicksboro), E Morrissey (Bennettsbridge); R Leahy (Rower Inistíoge), J Maher (St. Lachtain’s); M Keoghan (Tullaroan), TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks), J Donnelly (Thomastown); B Sheehan (Dicksboro), W Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon), G Aylward (Glenmore).

DUBLIN (SHC v Kilkenny):

A Nolan (St. Brigid’s); P Smyth (Clontarf), C O’Callaghan (Cuala), B O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes); S Barrett (Na Fianna), S Moran (Cuala), C Crummy (Lucan Sarsfields); R McBride (St. Vincent’s), E O’Donnell (Whitehall Colmcille); J Malone(Cuala), C Keaney (Ballyboden St. Enda’s), D Sutcliffe (St. Jude’s); F Whitely (Kilmacud Crokes), L Rushe (St. Patrick’s Palmerstown), P Ryan (Ballyboden St. Enda’s).

WEXFORD (SFC v Laois):

C Swaine; M Furlong, J Rossiter, C Carty; G Malone, N Rossiter, S Doyle; B Malone, D Waters; J Stafford, E Nolan, B Brosnan; P Curtis, N Doyle, D Shanley.

LAOIS (SHC v Kerry):

E Rowland (St. Lazerian’s); P Lawlor (Ballinakill), L Bergin (Shanahoe), L Cleere (Clough-Ballacolla); R Mullaney (Castletown), M Whelan (Borris in Ossory-Kilcotton), E Killeen (Rathdowney-Errill); P Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill), C Taylor (Portlaoise); C Dwyer (Ballinakill), B Conroy (Slieve Bloom), W Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla); R King (Rathdowney-Errill), S Maher (Clough-Ballacolla), PJ Scully (Borris in Ossory-Kilcotton).

KERRY (SHC v Laois):

M Stackpoole (Lixnaw); S Weir (Crotta O’Neills), J Buckley (Lixnaw), B Murphy (Causeway); B Barrett (Causeway), D Collins (Kilmoyley), T Murnane (Kilmoyley); S Nolan (Crotta O’Neills), B O’Leary (Abbeydorney); D Griffin (St. Brendans Ardfert), M Boyle (Ballyduff), B O’Mahony (Crotta O’Neills); J Goulding (Ballyduff), P Boyle (Ballyduff), S Conway (Lixnaw).

ANTRIM (SHC vs Carlow):

R Elliot; S Rooney, J Dillon, C McKinley; J Maskey, P Burke, R McCambridge; E Campbell, S McCrory; N Elliot, C Johnston, Neil McManus; D McKinley, M Armstrong, C McCann.

DUBLIN (MHC v Kilkenny):

J Lambert; K Byrne, Ci Hogan, T Cullen; E Carney, A O’Neill, Iain O’Héither; D Leavy, D Power; D McLoughney, P Christie, C Foley; L Dunne, L Swan, D Purcell.

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