Park on the shortlist
The hard work of Innovate Wexford Park groundsman John Nolan and his team was recognised when it was shortlisted for the 2017 best pitch award.
This was the inaugural year of the scheme, and the adjudicators completed their deliberations last week when Semple Stadium in Thurles was named as the winner.
St. Conleth's Park in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, was selected as the runner-up and, as well as our own main county ground, the other venues shortlisted were O'Donnell Park in Letterkenny (Donegal), Dr. Hyde Park in Roscommon, and Páirc Uí Rinn in Cork.
Assessment of the grounds nationwide was completed by Stuart Wilson, Croke Park pitch manager and G.A.A. National Games Development Centre, and Dr. Stephen Barker of the Sports Research Institute, who visited all six venues.
The decision process involved scoring and feedback from referees during the Allianz Leagues in spring, and took into consideration a pitch quality assessment based on performance standards, construction, management programme, environmental conditions and usage levels.
The awards scheme is part of a wider initiative to improve the standards of playing surfaces around the country and to share some of the expertise and experience used at Croke Park and from the G.A.A's national pitch committee.