ST Conleth’s Park, Newbridge, as agreed by one and all, including the County Board, is one of the poorest county grounds in the country. In fact at the August County Board meeting chairman John McMahon admitted that the board are set to make improvements to the Newbridge venue ahead of the senior footballers’ Allianz National Football League Division 1 campaign, writes Ruth Chambers.
I’m presuming the County Board are actually going to clean the place when they are it at too. Heaven forbid the big guns and their supporters may see the grubbiness. It’s okay for the locals though and the not so big guns it seems.
The old stadium might be way behind the likes of O’Connor Park, O’Moore Park and even Pairc Tailteann when it comes to infrastructure but what excuse has the county board for the dirt, the weeds and the mould?
I recently covered the All Ireland Minor B Hurling Championship quarter final in St Conleth’s and as I surveyed my surroundings it became clear that not only is it one of the worst county grounds in the country but it’s also one of the dirtiest. The stand has seen better days, so too have the toilets and of course the terrace but what, may I ask, is the excuse for the scuz?
Let’s start with the press box.
First up, on the day in question, only four of the six shutters in the main box would open as a piece of wood, wedged between the wall and the shutter, blocked one off. Now I’m certainly no DIY expert but surely a hammer and a hook would fix this problem?
The counter top in the box is waiting to be acquainted with a rag and a bit of disinfectant as long as Kildare are waiting for Leinster glory and the black dirt on my notepad after the game is testament to that, while the sockets, I’m sure, were white at some stage.
Loose nails are left lying around, while the strong smell of urine in the radio commentry area is utterly vile.
I am fully aware that the County Board have problems with breaking and entering and more often than not the press box is used as a make-shift party zone at the weekends with evidence of the use of alochol (and worse). It’s unfortunate but it’s still no excuse to leave it in the state that it is in.
Step outside the box and there’s plenty of more grime to be seen. The perspex on top of the stand side dugouts are a lovely shade of green. Perhaps it’s a reference to the Lilies green ‘away’geansaí, but I doubt it.
And what about nature’s graffiti?
I’m talking about the weeds that are growing all around the stadium. Just like the rag and the disinfectant, I doubt that St Conleth’s has seen a drop of Roundup for a while either. Weed ‘em and reap County Board, weed ‘em and reap.
The aforementioned is just simply the tip of the iceberg but don’t get me started on the toilets or the rest!
St Conleth’s Park is well passed its sell by date. It elderly and infirm. That’s nothing new but there’s no excuse for dirt. Simply none.
I’m sure come next spring the place will be spic and span but that’s not good enough. The house should always be in order and the stand, the terracing, the health and safety auditor and Croke Park can’t be blamed in this instance.
The County Board can be though!