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Dublin v Tyrone: Mickey and Pat confident Croker’s at perfect pitch

By John Campbell

The Croke Park playing surface has come under fire over the course of this week but Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and his Dublin counterpart Pat Gilroy harbour no inhibitions in relation to the pitch going into tonight’s game.

It was on the RTE midweek GAA programme ‘The Committee Room’ that presenter Marty Morrissey chaired a discussion during which criticism was made of the Headquarters pitch.

The programme elicited a sharp response from the GAA with Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna hitting out at what he felt was a lack of balance in the debate.

“It appeared to be a prompted position that Marty Morrissey took on,” said McKenna (pictured). “It's disappointing. All you ask for is balance but that was not evident. It wasn't a debate, it was opinion. For RTE to take a position without a counterpoint to it is disappointing, especially when what was said doesn't match the factual position.”

The Longford native added that the GAA had yet to receive a single complaint about the recently re-laid Croke Park pitch.

“We take pitch measurements every day but particularly on the day of the game itself to test the hardness of the surface and it is well within our tolerance levels.

“The pitch is a brand new surface and has been performing extraordinarily well.

“Kieran McGeeney described it as the best pitch Kildare have played on,” said McKenna.

Certainly the Croke Park surface seemed to stand up well to the four games which were played on it last weekend.

Tyrone were one of the teams in action on it when they beat Roscommon and a county board spokesman said last night that they are delighted to be returning to play Dublin there.

“Croke Park is where every team wants to be at this time of the year.

“As far as we can see there is nothing wrong with the surface, we are just delighted to be involved in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

“We would hope to be back again for the semi-finals,” added the spokesman.

There have been references made in the recent past to players slipping and sliding on the surface and while some of this occurred last weekend it was because the surface was damp.

“We cannot legislate for the weather but certainly the pitch is never in anything less than pristine condition,” said McKenna.

With the greater part of tonight’s game expected to be under floodlights this will serve to accentuate the stadium’s grandeur.

Belfast Telegraph

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