WATERFORD hurlers have won their battle to host Munster Championship games at the revamped Walsh Park this summer.
Although work on the county ground will not be finished it will be able to safely accommodate 11,000 spectators, the minimum stipulated by the GAA.
Waterford were unable to play home games at Walsh Park last season because the ground did not meet the the required standard.
The green light is good news for the team and its supporters and also for business in the city.
“We are delighted to be playing our home games in Walsh Park on May 12 and June 2,” said Waterford County Board Chairman, Paddy Joe Ryan.
These games will be a big boost for the county & local businesses and we look forward to welcoming the supporters of Clare and Limerick to the City.
It is 16 years since Waterford last hosted a Munster SHC game.The break-through came at a meeting where provincial and county board officers discussed the use of the venue following confirmation from GAA health and safety consultants that the capacity for both games would be set at 11,000.
Waterford manager Páraic Fanning said the county would now enter the championship on the same terms as the other counties.
“My view has always been that when you put your life on hold and give everything to preparing for the championship you deserve the same chance as everyone else,” he said.
Former manager Derek McGrath said it was “good news” for the county. He admitted he hadn’t been “forceful enough” in trying to get the grounds up to the required standard last season.
There were a litany of injuries, ill-luck, refereeing decisions and just not being good enough on given days
But he thought elimination from the championship wasn’t only down to the venue. “There were a litany of injuries, ill-luck, refereeing decisions and just not being good enough on given days,” he told RTE