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Semple’s field Thurles Wins 2017 Pitch Award

Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Semple’s field (Semple Stadium) here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary is the inaugural winner of the 2017 Pitch Award, while St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge in County Kildare have been declared as the runner-up.

Other pitches, namely O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; Dr Hyde Park, Co. Roscommon; Páirc Uí Rinn, Co. Cork and Innovate Wexford Park, Co. Wexford were also short-listed for the award.

Judging of pitches nationwide was conducted by Mr Stuart Wilson, (Manager Croke Park Pitch and GAA National Games Development Centre), and Dr. Stephen Barker (Sports Research Institute), who both visited all the above six short-listed venues.

Their final decision involved scoring and feedback from referees, while taking into consideration a Pitch Quality Assessment; same based on performance standards, construction, management program, environmental conditions and overall usage levels.

The awards scheme is just part of a wider initiative to improve the standard of playing surfaces around Ireland, while sharing the expertise and experience used at Croke Park and conveyed by the GAA’s National Pitch Committee.

GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail commenting stated that he wished to congratulate the grounds team at Semple Stadium on winning this award, and salute the work undertaken by all involved.

The grounds crew at Semple Stadium together with the runner up, will receive their award at an All-Ireland Hurling Semi-Final next August, while also receiving pitch supplies courtesy of Irish Turfcare, ICL and Campey Turfcare Systems.

Meanwhile All-Ireland champions Tipperary will face Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final in Round Two of the hurling qualifiers, this Saturday in Semple Stadium beginning at 5.00pm, followed by Kilkenny v Waterford, with a throw-in time scheduled for 7.00pm.

Dublin were most efficient in seeing-off Laois on Saturday last, while Tipperary were far from ‘at their best’ against Westmeath. Next Saturday should demonstrate if Tipperary were just experiencing that ‘off-day’.

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