GAA 3G Synthetic goal mouths.
- What size should they be?
- Do they affect the dynamics of the playing field?
- Is there a standard?
- Should there be a shock pad?
- What the cost?
It's becoming more common for a GAA pitch to have synthetic goal mouths or I have seen the area take in the 19 x 13m box. The reasons are obvious, its impossible to have one pitch in-situ goal posts, 10 teams plus the local lads using the area every day to become the next County star.
In some cases the Natural goal mouths resemble a wallowing pit than a functional level 2.5m bar parell to the ground. The obvious solution is to re-turf yearly, get a set of movable goal posts, remove the cross bar after play ect.
Synthetic is one of the solutions available.
It's important to recognise the GAA Performance and Construction Standards for Synthetic Turf Pitches. While these standards are for a full synthetic pitch construction goal mouth construction should look at the recommendations to make sure installation is appropriate.
My personal experience with goal mouth goes back 15 years when it first came into prevalence. If goal mouths are left to repair themselves then over time they grow from a small 2m hole to take in most of the small box and out to the large 13m box.
The goal mouths became even worse on sand based pitches so large areas were put in to combat the excessive use.
This is when the idea of replacing a large area 19x13m.
The problem with large areas of 3G synthetic carpet on natural pitches in my opinion is the ball bounce and changing of surface in the most important area of the pitch. I also think it's difficult to maintain easily contaminated and difficult to keep a level with how Natural turf is always on the move.
With topdressing, worm activity, organic build up the synthetic area quickly takes on a sunken look which makes it stick out like a sore thumb.
Haven studied several ways of installation the most cost effective way is to install a 6.5m wide strip to cover the goal line x 4m the standard with of a synthetic carpet, place.5m into goal mouth with 3.5 m lying just short of the 4.5m box. The goal keepers get a decent safe area to marshal his goal and it's big enough to stop the goal mouth area getting damaged in future.
The cost varies considerably on what base is put in, shock pad and size but expect to pay up to € 70 a sq. meter and more depending on the specifications.
The base can be constructed to the GAA performance and construction standard for synthetic turf pitches or I have seen the sod been lifted, sand been raked and carpet been put down,
A shock pad should be considered but it's not necessary.
A Synthetic carpet that's fits the GAA recommendation is obvious and information is available on -line
Either way a standard for synthetic goal mouths should be drawn up to make sure the marriage between natural and synthetic is a good one.