Parnell Park ‘too tight’ for intercounty hurling, says English
Analyst believes Dublin may find Croke Park a struggle if they play home games in smaller venue
Nicky English: ‘You could argue if you were the opposition whether it’s fair to actually play in Parnell Park, because it’s very tight.’ File photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Any perceived advantage the Dublin hurling team may get by playing their home championship games at Parnell Park could be offset when it comes to playing in Croke Park, such are the differences in the pitch dimensions, according to Tipperary’s All-Ireland winning player and manager Nicky English.
Speaking in Croke Park at the launch of the Sky Sports coverage of the All-Ireland championship, English suggested playing at Parnell Park may actually be a disadvantage if or when Dublin come to play in Croke Park later in the summer.
“Teams won’t like going to Parnell Park,” he said. “For me, I’m not sure. From an intercounty hurling perspective for championship matches it’s a very difficult place to go. Like, you could argue if you were the opposition whether it’s fair to actually play in Parnell Park, because it’s very tight.”
“I think it’s too tight, yeah. For senior intercounty hurling matches I think it’s too tight. Ultimately, to win you have to go to Croke Park to win anyway. The team that’s going to prosper in the close confines of Parnell Park is unlikely to prosper in Croke Park; where ultimately to win anything, you have to go. But at the same time, if you want to create a fortress, them no better place to create it than Parnell Park because the confines are conducive to that. I don’t know the measurements, but certainly it feels tight in the corners. As a one-time corner forward, Parnell Park wouldn’t have been one of my favourites now.”
This is the sixth championship with Sky Sports providing pay-per-view coverage along with RTÉ: along with English, the panel of pundits includes Kieran Donaghy, Peter Canavan, Senan Connell, Jamesie O’Connor, JJ Delaney and Ollie Canning, with Michael Fennelly, Dick Clerkin, Mike Finnerty and Paul Earley providing co-commentary for the 2019 season.
Meanwhile, the GAA’s Referee Development Committee has announced its panel of referees for this summer’s championships. A total of 46 referees from around the country have been called up for championship duty.
There will be 18 referees on the football championship panel – the same as last year, including newcomers Brendan Cawley from Co Kildare and James Molloy from Co Galway, who replace Cormac Reilly (Co Meath) and Pádraig Hughes (Co Armagh).
In hurling, there will be a panel of 14 referees who will officiate across the Liam MacCarthy and Joe McDonagh Cup competitions. This is an increase of four referees on last year. Tipperary’s Johnny Ryan, Antrim’s Colum Cunning, Liam Gordon from Galway, Cork’s Calthal McAllister, Clare’s Rory McGann and Carlow’s Patrick Murphy are the six new additions for 2019; Diarmuid Kirwan from Cork and James McGrath from Westmeath make way.
Referees were chosen following a series of physical fitness and playing rules examinations as well as on their Allianz League performances. An additional 14 referees have been named to take charge of Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cup matches in hurling.