The Perfect Pitch
The pitch at Croke Park is widely regarded as one of the best in the world. Games that have been played on the surface include Gaelic games (Hurling, Gaelic football, Camogie), International Rules, Rugby and Soccer.
The pitch is amongst the busiest in the world with nearly 90 fixtures per year. The venue also hosts a series of concerts with bands like U2, Take That and Ed Sheeran among the most recent performers. The pitch is nearly twice the size of a conventional soccer field at 15,000 m2.
Croke Park Pitch - One of the best in the world.
The Croke Park pitch covers an area 145m long by 88m wide with full grass cover and stability all year round. At ground level the drainage system installed is connected to huge suction fans which allow us to blow air through the pitch and suck water out. These pipes are covered with a 300 mm layer of permeable pebble stone which has a drainage rate of about 900 mm per hour. Over this, a carefully selected Wexford sand forms the lower rootzone into which the undersoil heating system is installed.
During the returfing operation in July 2009, 1500 roles of turf were installed on the pitch in just 3 days with games played immediately afterwards. The pitch also has a fully automatic irrigation system which allows water application for grass growth and preparation for play.
The pitch has a suspended water table construction with a gravel base, linked to an In-Situ Air Sparging System. This allows the stadium to ventilate the pitch in warm periods from the base and to remove water from the profile in wet periods. The undersoil heating system works on a series of hot water pipes transferring heat to the sand rootzone. The sand continues to a depth of 260 mm with a specialist fibre stabilising agent tilled into the sand to keep the surface stable. On top of this is a 40 mm specialist sod which is a 100% natural sandy loam soil.
The pitch is turfed with a custom turf specifically grown for the strength and stability needed for Gaelic Games. The pitch sward is 60% Poa Pratensis and 40% Perennial Ryegrass which gives the pitch exceptional stability. Strict pitch performance criteria are maintained and records are available for inspection for pitch hardness, traction, infiltration, soil moisture, ball rebound and shock absorbency.
The pitch is manned and maintained by professional ground staff with a fleet of modern equipment. The aim is to present the pitch to the same exacting standards for every event held within Croke Park.
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