By Alan Cawley
One of the major talking points in our league this week has been the poor conditions of some of our pitches.
Shamrock Rovers manager Trevor Croly was very critical of the pitch in Dalymount Park last Monday, as was home team manager Aaron Callaghan.
Is it just a case of us been really unlucky with the horrific weather at the moment or are teams not looking after the pitches the way they should be?
I think it is a bit of both to be fair.
The weather has been horrendous this weekend, but I don't remember it being quite that bad last weekend before Bohemians played Shamrock Rovers.
I totally understand the current financial climate clubs are working in compared to five or six years ago, but clubs have to prioritise what's most important to them. If they are serious about wanting to give their team the best possible chance of success, they have to provide a sound playing surface. After all, the players are the most important people at a club, and the pitch is where they master their craft. It is the least they deserve. I feel it is even more imperative nowadays to provide this as so many of our managers and teams want to play the game in the right manner.
Yesterday saw another example of a poor playing surface, when Shelbourne hosted Shamrock Rovers.
Unfortunately for them, the footballing gods seem to be against Rovers at the moment, as this was the second time in a week they had to play on a haphazard playing surface. More credit probably has to go to the staff at Tolka Park for even getting this game on due to the horrible weather this weekend, but Trevor Croly won't find any consolation in that.
This was a game live in front of the TV cameras and a chance to showcase all that's good about our league. Fair play to both sets of players for putting on as good a game as possible, but again the pitch hampered any chance of seeing any attractive free-flowing football.
I actually felt sorry for the players at times because you could see the frustration written all across their faces every time there was a misplaced pass or cross due to the bobbly pitch.
The move to summer soccer has certainly helped playing conditions as the pitches are far better throughout the season. That doesn't mean that clubs should them for granted during the close-season and not take care of their pitches.
Everyone is quick to blame the FAI about certain aspects of our league, but this is a responsibility of each and every club. If we are to keeping making strides forward and making the league the best possible product it can be, this must become a priority.
Hopefully the good weather is only around the corner and this is the last we are talking about poor pitches.
Little mental note to everyone - remember how bad March has been weather-wise and let's not make the same mistakes when our league kicks off this time next year.
Until next week,