It’s a long way from Turner's Cross to Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, but when you get to Al Ain – the vibrant inland city in the UAE - at least the grass will be the same.

The 22,000-capacity arena is one of two venues being used for the FIFA World Club Cup this month, hosting Gremio’s dramatic defeat of Pachuca on Tuesday that earned the Brazilians a crack at Real Madrid in Saturday’s final.

Everton, the striker who edged his team into the decider five minutes into extra-time, may not have appreciated the surface his left peg was planted on as he swept home the crucial goal.

If he had, he’d have tipped his cap to a Corkman.

Wes Hoolahan whips in a corner during the 2016 friendly against Belarus at Turner's Cross

Shane Burke led the maintenance of the four training pitches used for the tournament as well as the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium turf.

Having honed his skills at the home of Cork City, and later at Croke Park for bumper Championship weekends, the 23-year-old has been in the Emirates this month to fine tune preparations for the annual tournament being contested this year by Kiwis Auckland City, Gremio of Brazil, Mexican outfit Pachuca, local hopes Al Jazira, Morocco's Wydad Casablanca, Urawa Red Diamonds from Japan and Spanish behemoth Real.

Even at this time of year the temperatures have been creeping towards the high 20s, and Burke has, quite literally, had to bring the old sod with him. 

"I moved here on 1 October. I was put in charge of the maintenance of the pitches in Al Ain," he tells RTÉ Sport.

"The company I’m with is SIS Pitches. They’re registered in Ireland.

"About eight weeks ago, we took out some of the warm-weather grass and over-seeded with perennial rye grass, which here is called winter grass. In Ireland it’s the only grass we have. It’s in all the pitches in Ireland. It likes cooler temperatures and it works better in the conditions.

"It was a matter of nutritional application and cutting after that, getting prepared for the training sessions.

"The main difference is the watering times for the soccer, which is obviously very important for the players. Some teams like a light watering before training, other teams want a heavy watering. We converse with trainers and coaches.

"The training pitches and stadium pitch were all the same in terms of moisture, hardness, the ball roll. That’s one thing we were trying to achieve. Traditionally training pitches are always worse than the stadium pitch and it’s hard for teams to adjust. We had all the pitches at the same level."

Burke cut his teeth looking after a field closer to home. Following in his father's footsteps, he sheared the blades in his home city and then had the responsibility of manicuring the hallowed turf of the GAA's HQ for the biggest days of the Irish sporting calendar.

Now, he could end up with the task of whipping Qatari surfaces into shape for the 2022 World Cup. 

"My dad is a sports ground contractor with Cork Sportsground Services. He’s the main contractor for Cork City’s pitch in Turner’s Cross," Burke adds.

"I worked there grass cutting, doing fertiliser application, preparing for the Ireland-Belarus game (in the run-up to Euro 2016). I was heavily involved in getting the pitch prepared for that.

"I worked in Croke Park from February to September... preparing for Championship games, allocating staff and talking to coaches. It was a great experience.

"At the moment my company are building most of the stadium pitches (in Qatar) and a lot of the training pitches also. It is going to be difficult with the climate. It’ll be a big challenge.

"FIFA have certain people in place to ensure everything is up to scratch. It’d be an experience I’d look forward to."

Watch Real Madrid v Gremio, FIFA World Club Cup final, live, RTÉ2, Saturday, 5pm