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Sunday 22 April 2018

Ó Fearghaíl unaware of pitch problems

18 July 2017; In attendance during the 2017 GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Series National Launch at Loughmacrory St. Teresa's GAA Club, Loughmacrory, Co Tyrone, is Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Aogán Ó Fearghail with, from left, Ciaran Murtagh of Roscommon, Ciarán Kilkenny of Dublin, Ronan McNamee of Tyrone and club players from the host club with the Sam Maguire Cup. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
18 July 2017; In attendance during the 2017 GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Series National Launch at Loughmacrory St. Teresa's GAA Club, Loughmacrory, Co Tyrone, is Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Aogán Ó Fearghail with, from left, Ciaran Murtagh of Roscommon, Ciarán Kilkenny of Dublin, Ronan McNamee of Tyrone and club players from the host club with the Sam Maguire Cup. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghaíl yesterday denied any knowledge Jim Gavin's questioning of the state of a section of the pitch in Croke Park on Sunday.

Speaking at the launch of this year's All-Ireland SFC in Loughmacrory GAA club in Tyrone, Ó Fearghaíl expressed his belief that "the Croke Park pitch gets more attention than any other in Ireland," and suggested he had not been made aware of Gavin's comments.

On Sunday, after his team's Leinster final victory over Kildare at GAA headquarters, the Dublin manager insisted that GAA "need to have a little reflection on" the timing of the Coldplay and U2 concerts which necessitated a replacement of the part of the Croke Park pitch closest to Hill 16.

"To turn it around so quick but going into a provincial final... is that the right thing to do to be replacing that part of the pitch, probably a fifth of the pitch?" he said.

The pitch was relayed after Coldplay's sell-out concert on July 8 while ground staff in Croke Park began digging up that same section after Sunday's match in preparations for next Saturday's U2 gig.

"I could see both sets of players slipping in that part," Gavin noted.

"It was very hard, that's one thing I'd say about it. It was probably for the management of Croke Park to have a look at it. A provincial showcase football game in Leinster, is that the right thing to do?"

And speaking at the same launch as Ó Fearghaíl - albeit at different times - Dublin forward Ciarán Kilkenny said he "noticed it straight away. That whole section of the field was nearly like an all-weather kind of a surface," he explained.

When asked about Gavin and Kilkenny's remarks, the GAA President claimed he was unaware, despite the fact that the Dublin manager's criticisms made back-page news on Monday.

"I don't know. I really don't know. The pitch in Croke Park gets more attention than any other in Ireland. And I think any team that travels around and plays on other pitches, they'll notice the care and attention that goes into it," he added.

"If there's an issue with it, I'm not really aware of it, to be honest with you."

Meanwhile, Tyrone defender Ronan McNamee says he is certain that Mickey Harte will be in charge of Tyrone next year.

Harte, who led his team to a sixth Ulster title since taking over as manager in 2003 last Sunday, has also won three All-Irelands but only has an agreement with the county board until the end of this season.

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