This afternoon provided the peak of the club GAA season, with the All-Ireland senior Gaelic football and hurling club finals taking part at Croke Park.
Taking part in such occasions is something many players dream of for their whole lives, with very few being lucky enough to experience them. That is especially true for those who do not play at inter-county level, with this being the only chance they will get to play at GAA HQ for many.
As a result, you would hope that the facilities would be in peak condition for the teams involved on the day. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case today.
Croke Park pitch in appalling conditions for club finals
When viewing the Ballyhale Shamrocks vs Dunloy and the Kilmacud Crokes vs Glen games, the first thing many viewers noticed was just how poor of a condition the Croke Park pitch was in.
Meant to be the standard bearer when it comes to GAA pitches in this country, the playing surface was in rag order this time around.
The condition of the pitch was certainly not befitting of the showpiece occasion.
Of course, the time of year is not ideal for an optimum playing surface. The relative lack of sunlight makes grass growth difficult, while cold and rainy weather can also strip away some of the turf.
In saying that, the GAA have questions to answer.
Croke Park has been overused in recent weeks, with the Leinster club finals in both codes and the All-Ireland club football semi-finals held at the venue. That is without even mentioning the other finals in lower grades, Ladies football, and Camogie that are traditionally played there.
Many feel the issue stems from the relaying of the Croke Park pitch last year, which was carried out after it was covered for two weeks in order to hold the Garth Brooks concerts in the stadium.
In all, the viewers were not impressed with the playing surface this afternoon.
GAA really showing what they think of the club player’s on their biggest day. Pitch is nothing short of a disgrace
— brian whelahan (@BWhelahan) January 22, 2023
Croke Park pitch is in brutal condition!! #GAABEO
— James Skehill (@Jskehill01) January 22, 2023
Have never seen the Croke park pitch in as poor as condition.
The joke that was playing Leinster club finals and semi finals has backfired.
— Hurler on the ditch (@HurlerD) January 22, 2023
Croke Park pitch is in a very bad way for the All Ireland finals today.
— AC (@ACCULE10) January 22, 2023
Croke Park pitch looks in rag order … Don’t think I’ve ever seen it as bad .
— Tom Holohan (@tomholohan) January 22, 2023
Jesus the pitch in Croke Park is in bits, has not been the same since it got re layed after the last concert.
— Gary Farrell (@gazmun97) January 22, 2023
The pitch at O’Moore Park is in better condition than Croke Parks. #GAABEO
— Rory 🇮🇪 (@Rdunne0) January 22, 2023
Croke park pitch in a terrible state for the best pitch in ireland...weather not helping but for top pitch in ireland lot of muck patchs all over the pitch...anyway up ballyhale
— mick mills (@mickeymills3344) January 22, 2023
That pitch in Croke Park is some disgrace for an All-Ireland Club day
— john whelan (@JohnChesneyw) January 22, 2023
— Jimmy Jests (@jimmyjests) January 22, 2023
Croke Park pitch looks poor, not a good look on All Ireland club final day
— Conor Murphy (@ConorMurphy97) January 22, 2023
— Pat Healy (@Patrick94137061) January 22, 2023
Croke Park pitch is the worst I've ever seen it today. If the GAA had any sense, they would make Dublin move to Parnell Park for the league and give the pitch time. Not like there'll be much more than 10K in Croker for those games 🤔 @SmallerFishGAA @FootballPod_GAA @officialgaa
— Roman Carton (@romanc_95) January 22, 2023
The state of the pitch is a disgrace. Why are the Lenister team even on it. Poor by Croke Pk
— Damian McCullough (@d_mc_cullough) January 22, 2023
Not good enough.
Thankfully, the players involved rose above the playing conditions to produce two entertaining games.