THE CORK County Board will begin the overhaul of the pitch at Páirc Uí Chaoimh next week so it is ready for next year's league.
That means the footballers' clash with Roscommon on the August Bank Holiday week in the Super 8s will now take place at Páirc Uí Rinn, while the smaller stadium will also be required to cater for the club finals in September and October.
The Páirc was closed during the league as the pitch failed to cope with early league games, though it was in perfect condition for the hurlers' clashes with Tipp and Waterford, as well as the Munster football final against Kerry.
An agreement has been reached with SIS Pitches to completely replace the pitch at Páirc Uí Chaoimh with a new reinforced pitch, incorporating rootzone and surface reinforcement, bringing it in line with the most up-to-date pitch construction technology and performance available.
In addition, the pitch surrounds will be replaced with the most up-to-date synthetic surround to comply with GAA performance and construction standards. SIS Pitches are also providing a contract guarantee for the performance of the pitch.
Work will begin on July 22.
A statement explained: "The tender price has come in within the amount allowed in the €95.8m estimate of costs announced earlier this year. The Páirc Uí Chaoimh Board and Cork County Board are confident that this action will allow the stadium to reach its full potential and will support growth in the areas of year-round events and the sale of premium seats, in addition to providing the best possible playing surface for our games."
Commenting on the announcement, Cork County Board chair Tracey Kennedy said, “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.
"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 footballers cannot play their 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.”