Thomond Park Stadium Director John Cantwell was forced to undertake an emergency trip to Woodies for 20 pitchforks to help ensure Munster’s Champions Cup tie against Castres went ahead yesterday.
Torrential overnight rain meant referee Ben Whitehouse was forced to delay the start of the game by three hours – from 1pm to 4pm – to allow Stadium staff clear water which had lodged on the surface of the
famous Limerick venue.
Cantwell explained: “When we arrived at the stadium at 7am we weren’t looking out on a pitch but a lake.” The expected clearance in the weather failed to materialise as the morning progressed which forced
Mr Whitehouse to push back the starting time.
And that is when Cantwell had to spring into action.
“Once it stopped raining we had to get as many people working the pitch as possible to drain it. So along with Conor Norris and his grounds team, we brought in an army of other people like plumbers,
electricians, bar staff …. people who would have other duties.
“I went over to Woodies and bought 20 pitchforks (at €20 each) around noon so those extra people could use them to work on the pitch.
“The break in the weather and the incredible work of our staff in draining the pitch ensured we made the 4pm start.
“The safety of players was the most important thing for us and that is why the game was pushed back to that time. The patience of our supporters was fantastic also and it was wonderful to see the vast
numbers that stayed there for the extra couple of hours.”