Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Take your seats for a big Croke Park overhaul

Croke Park is to get yet another face-lift - and this time it will not just be confined to the playing surface.

Instead, the GAA is to spend almost €1 million on replacing the 70,000 seats in the ground over the next two years.

The plan is part of a major redevelopment of the stadium which will also see the corporate boxes and premium level area upgraded,.

The seating in the 25,000-capacity Cusack Stand, which was opened in 1995, will be first to be replaced.

Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna (pictured) said: "The seats have been there for 12 or 14 years - that would be their natural life."

The next phase will see the new seating installed in the Davin Stand, or Canal End, while the corporate boxes will also be overhauled.

And in conjunction with this, further remedial work will be undertaken to the playing surface, which has been the subject of much debate of late because of its perceived mischievious nature.

Much work has been done to the pitch in the recent past which has involved Central Council in heavy expenditure as the drive continues to produce the perfect playing surface.

Meanwhile, as the GAA’s 125th anniversary celebrations continue apace, the Association is combining with the GOAL charity to help provide 125 homes for some of the most vulnerable children on the planet.

GOAL, under the direction of well-known Dublin sports journalist John O’Shea, has worked with the poorest of the poor in Uganda since 1979 and has recently embarked on a project to build homes for families that have been affected by HIV/AIDS.

To date, GOAL has built close to 900 houses in this East African country, which is home to hundreds of thousands of orphans due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

John O’Shea says: “GOAL wants to let at least some of these children know that they are not forgotten. We are asking GAA club members to celebrate La na gClub on the May 10th with a fundraising effort for this housing project.”

From GOAL's inception, the GAA has been hugely supportive - the annual GOAL Challenge in football and hurling that immediately follow the All-Ireland finals are steadfast features of the GAA calendar. Since 1977 GOAL has spent in excess of €560 million in over 50 countries for those in greatest need.

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