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GAA Stadiums

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With all the talk of new stadiums and renovations at the moment I wa wondering how people feel about current stadia and what people look for on match day. Would be interesting to get people's thoughts on best and worst around the country.

From the stadiums I've been to ( leaving out CP )
For league it's Nowlan park perfect size and build for a league venue. Ennis will be great too with a bit of a clean up.

For championship it's Cork despite the crap walk to the stadium( or was as I haven't been to the revamp yet)

Speaking of bad locations Galway is a pain to walk to from the city Centre and even worse when you factor in getting out of the city back to Limerick after

Biggest disappointment is PnG can be a great atmosphere when busy for a championship game but there seems to be a real lack of imagination about the place post rebuild. The floodlights are in a joke of a spot and a lad selling melted mars bars from a fold out table isn't good enough for a big stadium in an AI match these days

Breezy (Limerick) - Posts: 1040 - 16/01/2020 15:57:59    2260245

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Replying To Breezy:  "With all the talk of new stadiums and renovations at the moment I wa wondering how people feel about current stadia and what people look for on match day. Would be interesting to get people's thoughts on best and worst around the country.

From the stadiums I've been to ( leaving out CP )
For league it's Nowlan park perfect size and build for a league venue. Ennis will be great too with a bit of a clean up.

For championship it's Cork despite the crap walk to the stadium( or was as I haven't been to the revamp yet)

Speaking of bad locations Galway is a pain to walk to from the city Centre and even worse when you factor in getting out of the city back to Limerick after

Biggest disappointment is PnG can be a great atmosphere when busy for a championship game but there seems to be a real lack of imagination about the place post rebuild. The floodlights are in a joke of a spot and a lad selling melted mars bars from a fold out table isn't good enough for a big stadium in an AI match these days"
Whereas I do feel it's very outdated and the upcoming developments are very welcomed, I do enjoy the small capacity of Newbridge. Makes for a cracking atmosphere when the games are good! Ive always enjoyed trips to Tullamore as well (barring a particular recent Carlow match)

Sweetspot (Kildare) - Posts: 175 - 16/01/2020 21:26:13    2260329

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Does anyone feel that Croker needs a lick of paint?

I mean it's a cracking place to look at in terms of the pitch and the atmosphere on big days but I always felt the concourse area was very bleak and boring with the exposed concrete etc... And yes I understand it's not the end of the world, and I don't expect the place to perfect, just saying.

I was at NBA game in a new-ish stadium last year and the whole place was incredible. Just walking in was surreal. I honestly think the GAA could do a little better. And they will eventually, it's just a matter of time before they do something to upgrade it.

Adler (Monaghan) - Posts: 746 - 16/01/2020 22:00:09    2260340

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Replying To Sweetspot:  "Whereas I do feel it's very outdated and the upcoming developments are very welcomed, I do enjoy the small capacity of Newbridge. Makes for a cracking atmosphere when the games are good! Ive always enjoyed trips to Tullamore as well (barring a particular recent Carlow match)"
Counties have to careful that they don't get too carried away. One decent stand that seats around 5000 and good terraces for the rest of the stadium with a capacity of between 15 and 20 thousand is what should be aimed for. Armagh to me have a done a very decent job with the athletic grounds. I like the terraces in breffni park and donegal do well there (at senior level). They also relaid the pitch and it looked great for the donegal vs Tyrone ulster semi last year. I really like the claustrophobia buzz around clones town for ulster final though nothing has been done to update the stadium in the last 20 years. The pitch though is always pretty decent. Hopefully they don't get too carried away with navan.

Ulsterchamps_32 (Donegal) - Posts: 295 - 16/01/2020 22:33:50    2260350

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Replying To Sweetspot:  "Whereas I do feel it's very outdated and the upcoming developments are very welcomed, I do enjoy the small capacity of Newbridge. Makes for a cracking atmosphere when the games are good! Ive always enjoyed trips to Tullamore as well (barring a particular recent Carlow match)"
Never been to a game in New ridge but I imagine it's good craic about town on match day as on my few trips up the pubs were fun when the GAA was on despite Kildare not playing

The main stand in Tullamore is nice and very similar to Salthill and Portlaoise which I think should be the minimum expected from a county ground stand.

Offaly is an interesting one to bring up too as there was a bit of headbutting over trying to prioritize Tullamore over Birr despite it being crazy these days to think that 2 stadiums bigger than a club ground is possible in all but the biggest counties

Breezy (Limerick) - Posts: 1040 - 16/01/2020 23:07:54    2260355

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Increased seating capacity and increased covered accommodation is what most supporters seem to yearn after, terraces are fine on a good summers day but at this time of year you want sufficient cover in which to shelter. Despite the questioning of its cost I think Pairc Ui Chaoimh done it right, a proper rebuild with good stands and cantilever roofs (no pillars) if you look at Thurles and the consistent effort of updating old buildings it makes you realise that there are times when a rebuilding is by far the better option. Similarly in Cusack Park in Ennis where the stand was revamped but has legroom designed for munchkins, the developments at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh and Pairc Esler in Newry are quite impressive, Breffni Park would be so much better if it had more of a roof, Mac Hale Park in Castlebar needs to do something about those bare concrete benches on three sides, just not good enough these days and terracing would be better than having to sit on those. Limerick could be a very fine stadium with some work such as adding a roof to the uncovered stand and shifting the floodlights. I look forward to the developments in Navan, Newbridge and Waterford that appear to be utilising modern designs and are proper looking rebuilds, this should be the way forward, focus on comfort and facilities over capacity.

Richieq (Meath) - Posts: 3584 - 16/01/2020 23:42:55    2260362

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Replying To Ulsterchamps_32:  "Counties have to careful that they don't get too carried away. One decent stand that seats around 5000 and good terraces for the rest of the stadium with a capacity of between 15 and 20 thousand is what should be aimed for. Armagh to me have a done a very decent job with the athletic grounds. I like the terraces in breffni park and donegal do well there (at senior level). They also relaid the pitch and it looked great for the donegal vs Tyrone ulster semi last year. I really like the claustrophobia buzz around clones town for ulster final though nothing has been done to update the stadium in the last 20 years. The pitch though is always pretty decent. Hopefully they don't get too carried away with navan."
I agree on Breffni.. they really have done a fine job with it and in my opinion should be in the conversation to hold an Ulster Final. I don't think there is a massive difference in capacity with Clones? I know Clones is synonymous with Ulster Final day but might be nice to share it around the odd time.

TrueBlue35 (Dublin) - Posts: 165 - 17/01/2020 09:04:24    2260381

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The better the facilities the more people will go, so I think we need to upgrade constantly.

witnof (Dublin) - Posts: 1578 - 17/01/2020 09:21:55    2260388

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Replying To Adler:  "Does anyone feel that Croker needs a lick of paint?

I mean it's a cracking place to look at in terms of the pitch and the atmosphere on big days but I always felt the concourse area was very bleak and boring with the exposed concrete etc... And yes I understand it's not the end of the world, and I don't expect the place to perfect, just saying.

I was at NBA game in a new-ish stadium last year and the whole place was incredible. Just walking in was surreal. I honestly think the GAA could do a little better. And they will eventually, it's just a matter of time before they do something to upgrade it."
I'd say most of the GAA stadia outside of Croker are in need of a revamp, honestly. And I don't think you're being unreasonable in looking for a slightly more comfortable experience for your money.

I've been fortunate enough to have travelled a fair bit and have been to a see a lot of different sports in my time- NHL, European ice hockey, Aussie Rules, Rugby League, Olympic Handball, NBA, Major League Baseball, college American football, Premier League etc.- and outside of the GAA, I have rarely seen sports grounds with just one covered stand, cold stone seating, or decrepit toilet facilities like those we have in many provincial GAA stadia.

And while I anticipate that some of you will counter this by stating that most of these are professional sports organizations and not amateur like the GAA, the GAA is charging ticket prices that are comparable with professional sports for the most part. What is it now, €30 for the Super 8s, €40 for a semi-final, €90 for a final ticket?

And it doesn't have the same overheads as the others, the major one being the payment of player salaries. Certainly, when I used to work at league matches in MacHale Park, almost everyone was a volunteer (other than perhaps the ambulance men/paramedics and media people). This may be a bit different for Croke Park with security and whatnot, admittedly.

For what I'd pay into a championship game in Ireland, I would get a seat at a pro soccer or hockey game where I'm based and would have a much more comfortable experience.

IMO Irish people don't query value for money issues half enough.

Gleebo (Mayo) - Posts: 1796 - 17/01/2020 10:15:43    2260398

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There aren't enough big games for the gaa to revamp all its stadia. Attendances are generally relatively low in comparison to sports across the water. For example, Tyrone will likely only play 3 league games and 1 championship match in Omagh this year. This would be same for many counties. How can we justify having state of the art stadia?

OGarmaile (Tyrone) - Posts: 224 - 17/01/2020 10:58:15    2260409

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Replying To Gleebo:  "I'd say most of the GAA stadia outside of Croker are in need of a revamp, honestly. And I don't think you're being unreasonable in looking for a slightly more comfortable experience for your money.

I've been fortunate enough to have travelled a fair bit and have been to a see a lot of different sports in my time- NHL, European ice hockey, Aussie Rules, Rugby League, Olympic Handball, NBA, Major League Baseball, college American football, Premier League etc.- and outside of the GAA, I have rarely seen sports grounds with just one covered stand, cold stone seating, or decrepit toilet facilities like those we have in many provincial GAA stadia.

And while I anticipate that some of you will counter this by stating that most of these are professional sports organizations and not amateur like the GAA, the GAA is charging ticket prices that are comparable with professional sports for the most part. What is it now, €30 for the Super 8s, €40 for a semi-final, €90 for a final ticket?

And it doesn't have the same overheads as the others, the major one being the payment of player salaries. Certainly, when I used to work at league matches in MacHale Park, almost everyone was a volunteer (other than perhaps the ambulance men/paramedics and media people). This may be a bit different for Croke Park with security and whatnot, admittedly.

For what I'd pay into a championship game in Ireland, I would get a seat at a pro soccer or hockey game where I'm based and would have a much more comfortable experience.

IMO Irish people don't query value for money issues half enough."
I am going to a league game next week with a pensioner and 2 kids, tickets will cost us in total €15 and for that we will get seats and a roof over us. American college football is an interesting comparison, it's an amateur sport as well and I can think of very few grounds that have covered stands over much of the stadium. As for the seats, the Americans are great for some innovation. Imagine if the GAA tried to introduce this idea in MacHale Park
[url=]https://youtu.be/7lEQKBU7q5k

Soma (UK) - Posts: 2451 - 17/01/2020 10:59:32    2260410

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Pearce Stadium Galway is the worst located stadium in the country. The atmosphere is always awful because most people have been sitting in their cars in traffic for at least an hour before any half important game and they know they'll do the same after it. It's no coincidence that Galway footballers have a very bad championship record since moving there from the real home of Galway football in Tuam. The sooner Tuam is brought up to the required level the better.

Mailman98 (Galway) - Posts: 182 - 17/01/2020 11:21:33    2260418

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Replying To TrueBlue35:  "I agree on Breffni.. they really have done a fine job with it and in my opinion should be in the conversation to hold an Ulster Final. I don't think there is a massive difference in capacity with Clones? I know Clones is synonymous with Ulster Final day but might be nice to share it around the odd time."
Quick look on Wiki there and it says Clones has capacity of 36k and Breffni 32k. Neither of those numbers are correct. Clones is down to about 30k, so assume Breffni is also down to something line 26k.

Attendances for last two ulster finals were down to about 28/29k, probably due to less fancied teams being in them (Ferm / Cavan). For the years before that it was more like 33 /34 thousand. 2016 Tyrone v Donegal was particularly high.

All in, it would cost the ulster council a good few quid in reduced tickets if the final moved to Breffni, so can't see it happening. Breffni is a great stadium though so plenty other matches should be staged there.

himachechy (Donegal) - Posts: 240 - 17/01/2020 11:47:33    2260423

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Replying To OGarmaile:  "There aren't enough big games for the gaa to revamp all its stadia. Attendances are generally relatively low in comparison to sports across the water. For example, Tyrone will likely only play 3 league games and 1 championship match in Omagh this year. This would be same for many counties. How can we justify having state of the art stadia?"
Isn't Healy Park one of the newer stadiums? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was always under the impression that Healy Park was one of the better equipped stadiums on the island (have not been lucky enough to visit yet).

But to address your question, I'm not saying that I expect all GAA stadia to be upgraded. However, I do think that prices are a little bit steep, generally speaking, given what is on offer. For instance, is it too much to expect modern toilet facilities at county grounds, given the amount of public money that the GAA receives, and what it charges to view the games?

If you're going to charge prices similar to professional sports, then people are going to make the comparisons.

Gleebo (Mayo) - Posts: 1796 - 17/01/2020 11:53:04    2260424

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Replying To Mailman98:  "Pearce Stadium Galway is the worst located stadium in the country. The atmosphere is always awful because most people have been sitting in their cars in traffic for at least an hour before any half important game and they know they'll do the same after it. It's no coincidence that Galway footballers have a very bad championship record since moving there from the real home of Galway football in Tuam. The sooner Tuam is brought up to the required level the better."
As bad as salthill is Galway City still more accessible than Tuam for most surely

Breezy (Limerick) - Posts: 1040 - 17/01/2020 12:18:43    2260432

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Replying To Gleebo:  "Isn't Healy Park one of the newer stadiums? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was always under the impression that Healy Park was one of the better equipped stadiums on the island (have not been lucky enough to visit yet).

But to address your question, I'm not saying that I expect all GAA stadia to be upgraded. However, I do think that prices are a little bit steep, generally speaking, given what is on offer. For instance, is it too much to expect modern toilet facilities at county grounds, given the amount of public money that the GAA receives, and what it charges to view the games?

If you're going to charge prices similar to professional sports, then people are going to make the comparisons."
The stadium is good. The pitch not. Its being closed at some point this year to get the pitch done. I think Tyrone might even be playing league games in Dungannon. Tyrone not certain of championship game as they are away to Donegal and would be neutral venue after that. Hopefully we send them to the qualifiers :-)

himachechy (Donegal) - Posts: 240 - 17/01/2020 13:41:01    2260451

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Replying To Breezy:  "As bad as salthill is Galway City still more accessible than Tuam for most surely"
You would think that but Tuam has many routes out of it. The vast majority come in from and leave in the same direction to Pearse.

Mailman98 (Galway) - Posts: 182 - 17/01/2020 14:19:42    2260462

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Replying To Mailman98:  "Pearce Stadium Galway is the worst located stadium in the country. The atmosphere is always awful because most people have been sitting in their cars in traffic for at least an hour before any half important game and they know they'll do the same after it. It's no coincidence that Galway footballers have a very bad championship record since moving there from the real home of Galway football in Tuam. The sooner Tuam is brought up to the required level the better."
I remember ging to championship games in Tuam, the traffic was just as bad. Dont pedal ur fake news here!

The_DOC (Galway) - Posts: 629 - 17/01/2020 14:32:43    2260463

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Replying To Mailman98:  "You would think that but Tuam has many routes out of it. The vast majority come in from and leave in the same direction to Pearse."
Agree that Tuam is way easier to get in and out off...now it has a motorway too. Anyway the traffic situation is overplayed...after any big event you just need to be patient....issue I have with Salthill is lack of match day atmosphere around the area and the strong wind that blows in year round....I just about remember being in Tuam in 1999....what an atmosphere and buzz around the town before and after.

yew_tree (Mayo) - Posts: 10251 - 17/01/2020 14:50:49    2260465

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Yes some stadia need upgrades. Connacht rugby is getting 20 million for the Sportsgrounds upgrade, but no GAA matches to be played there.

galwayford (Galway) - Posts: 1901 - 17/01/2020 14:53:26    2260467

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