Páirc Tailteann has been selected as the GAA pitch of the year for 2023, the second time in three years it has been acknowledged as the best.
The Navan grounds, which host the All-Ireland senior club hurling semi-final between O’Loughlin Gaels and Ruairi Óg, Cushendall last Sunday, was chosen ahead of the 2022 winner Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The other four finalists were Limerick’s TUS Gaelic Grounds, Fermanagh’s Brewster Park, London’s McGovern Park, Ruislip and Kilkenny’s UPMC Nowlan Park, a previous winner in 2018 and ’19. The inaugural award was won by FBD Semple Stadium in 2017 – there was no award in 2020.
The six venues were all visited earlier this year by the judging panel of Croke Park pitch manager and Ian McClements, secretary of the GAA’s National Pitch Work Group.
“All the grounds were assessed against more than 30 criteria including pitch playing quality, pitch presentation and performance as well as taking account of the resources available for management.
“The extreme weather conditions in the late summer made the preparation of pitches extremely challenging and the condition that these finalists achieved at the time of our visit highlighted the level of dedication and commitment of both the staff and volunteers involved.
“With such high standards across all grounds and scores between the winner and runner up very close it was difficult to allocate a winner and runner up but for 2023 Páirc Tailteann was considered to be the winner and Páirc Uí Chaoimh as runner up.”