Leaking Aviva to undergo surgery after fans left saturated

AVIVA STADIUM director Martin Murphy has admitted that work is underway to solve leakage problems in the roof of the state-of-the-art venue.

Murphy also concedes that the intense programme of six matches in November, including four in eight days starting from Saturday, is “high risk” but he is confident the playing surface will hold up.

Leaking first emerged in the stadium two months ago and though that was resolved, fans attending Saturday’s rugby international between Ireland and South Africa complained of being saturated by further leaks in a number of sectors of the new €410m stadium, including the Upper West Stand. According to Murphy, the leak is coming from a different source.

He explained: “We had a very heavy downpour on Saturday and there is an issue that occurs when there’s very heavy rain, which is a design problem. We have the solution for that. It’s occurring at the interface between the gutter and the drainage system.

“It’s not a major problem. There’s a gap behind where the gutter that enters the downpipe in particular locations where there are a lot of steelworks and we will address that.”

The leak, the result and the “disappointing” attendance of 35,517 were the negative aspects of the first rugby international at a stadium that has had almost 400,000 people through the turnstiles since opening three months ago.

Gradual improvement in stewarding, and the public becoming more familiar with the stadium have led to an increasingly smooth running of events, while the pitch has stood up to the punishing elements and the action.

The sand-based fibre elastic surface will be the subject of round-the-clock care in the coming weeks to ensure that it withstands a programme, which includes the four Guinness rugby internationals, Sunday’s FAI Cup final between Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers as well as the soccer friendly against Norway tomorrow week.

With Leinster scheduled to play Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup at the venue on December 18, the pressure is on to ensure that the surface will remain in pristine condition but Murphy is confident that the ground staff, led by Majella Smith and Stuart Wilson will rise to the challenge.

“I was walking the pitch this morning and it’s in very good shape. My only concern is that there are six matches being played this month and it will be a challenge. We are using Grow Lights which will be a big help and after that it’s just a case of sweeping the pitch, maintaining it, repairing any divots and getting the lights on as much as possible.

“We have enough rain so watering won’t be an issue.

“We’ve got an FAI Cup final on Sunday and the Norway match the following week so we’ll have to turn the pitch around from a rugby to a soccer pitch straight after the Samoa game on Saturday night. It’s high risk having that much activity and will be a real test of the pitch but I would be confident the playing surface will be ready.”

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