By Daithi Boland
The possibility of Waterford playing their home games at Walsh Park for the 2019 Munster Championship has not yet been ruled out but what has been by the Munster Competitions Control Committee (CCC) is that Nowlan Park is not an option for the Deise County.
Last Thursday night Waterford saw their bid to host their Round Robin provincial games at Nowlan Park rejected by the Munster CCC.
The committee is made up of 6 county delegates and 4 Munster GAA officers. Waterford did receive some support, however the proposal did not receive the required support to effect a change to the decision on Munster Championship games only taking place within the Province.
Delegates believe there are a number of venues within the province capable of hosting games such as Semple Stadium where if Walsh Park does not get the go ahead it’s most likely Waterford will play their home matches against Clare and Limerick in Thurles.
There was ostensibly a financial reason being one of the factors in the decision to not allow Nowlan Park host the games as a certain profit of the income would be going to a county outside the province. Ater being in contact with both Waterford and Munster GAA, they have made it very clear that this is not the case and never was.
With bigger capacities there would be a financial benefit having the games in Semple Stadium or Nowlan Park compared to Walsh Park. Host venues receive 15% of the gross gate income in rent for Munster Senior Championship matches so if Waterford’s home ties were at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny GAA would receive that 15%.
With plans of redeveloping Walsh Park still ongoing the decision is now in the hands of An Bord Pleanála on whether it goes ahead or not. A final verdict from the planning body, regarding two submissions lodged in relation to elements of the proposed face lift, is expected in the coming weeks.
If the redevelopment gets the go ahead, county board officials have to then make a call on whether to start construction (Most likely to start in April) or delay the date until mid-June so as to keep Walsh Park in the running to be the venue.