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Will MacHale Park meet an April deadline?


Mike Finnerty

NEXT summer’s Connacht SFC clash between Mayo and Galway could yet be played at a neutral venue — if pitch resurfacing works at MacHale Park in Castlebar aren’t completed in time.
The mouthwatering provincial quarter-final has been pencilled in for Sunday, April 24, but it remains to be seen if the project on the MacHale Park pitch (which is estimated to be costing approximately €300,000) will have concluded by then.
A recent County Board meeting was told that May 1 had been set as the target date for the re-opening of the stadium for hosting matches on the main pitch.
The Mayo News understands that the weather over the coming months will have a big bearing on whether the newly-reseeded surface (which has had 1,000 tonnes of sand spread on it before being re-seeded) will be ready host the latest renewal between the defending Connacht champions and their near-neighbours.
Mayo GAA Board assistant treasurer Michael Diskin — who is overseeing the pitch resurfacing at the county ground in a voluntary ‘project manager’ capacity — told a County Board meeting last summer that ‘the worse-case scenario’ would be that the pitch would re-open in April of this year.
That date has since been revised to May 1.
Last year’s Connacht SFC Final between Mayo and Galway had been due to be played in Castlebar but was instead moved to Croke Park by Connacht GAA chiefs in order to cater for a larger crowd due to Covid restrictions on gatherings at outdoor events at the time.
Approximately 14,000 to 15,000 spectators attended the historic match in Dublin.
However, the ‘home/away’ arrangement that has operated between Mayo and Galway over the years means that this summer’s championship match between the counties is set to be played in Castlebar.
But if MacHale Park was not in a position to host the game, and the counties could not agree on the game being played at a Galway venue instead, then a neutral venue such as Hyde Park in Roscommon or possibly Croke Park could again come into play.


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