21/05/02.Work formally commenced yesterday, Monday, May 20th, 2002 on the redevelopment of the main pitch at Lansdowne Road, at the cost of roughly 400,000.
It is scheduled that the new pitch will be ready for play when
Ireland commence their World Cup Rugby 2003 qualifying programme in September next.
The redevelopment programme is being done at the end of a period, during
which 36 rugby and soccer matches were played, from June 2, 2001, when the Republic of Ireland played Portugal to Thursday last, May 16, when the Republic of Ireland’s played against Nigeria.
IRFU consultant agronomist, Eddie Connaughton B.Sc., explained that a number of pitch reconstruction methods were considered in great detail
before the final decision was made on which method would be most suitable for Lansdowne Road.
He says: The use of polypropelene fibres mixed with the sand / soil below
the pitch surface is one of the key elements of this pitch
construction. We will have a 100 per cent natural grass surface with the benefits of greater root stability in the sand / soil matrix provided by the fibres. These
fibres, which are unique in their crimped” configuration, have the benefit of allowing grass roots to grow around them, thus providing greater surface stability, which results in less wear and tear on the grass. With this method of pitch reconstruction, a superior playing surface will be provided
for rugby and soccer. A full surface drainage system will also be installed.”
Phililp Browne, Chief Executive, IRFU said: We had planned to carry out the pitch reconstruction prior to now but we were caught in a fixtures glut
because of the effects of the Foot and Mouth precautions implemented last year and the resultant delay in completing the Six Nations programme, together with the other heavy demands on the pitch. But now we are underway
and we look forward to a much improved, superior playing surface, which is scheduled to be ready for play next Sepotember.”