A small animal has caused big problems for a soccer club preparing for the arrival of Premiership giants Liverpool.
The players of Munster Junior League side, Dunmanway Town AFC, are now less than a fortnight away from one of the greatest David versus Goliath clashes in the history of Irish sport when they square up to the Merseyside giants.
But their pitch - which is undergoing a huge makeover in preparation for the glamour tie - has been dogged by problems after some enthusiastic burrowing by a rabbit.
Officials were on the pitch at Maria Immaculata Community College in Dunmanway, Co Cork, yesterday where they established that the burrowing has ceased - easing concerns about the state of the turf ahead of the game.
Meanwhile the first shipments of a temporary stadium arrived in the west Cork town - and work is now under way to transform the college into a ground worthy of the 18-time League champions on August 6. The groundwork is expected to take a full week to complete.
The temporary stadium has cost Dunmanway an estimated €100,000 - and, despite support from the Football Association of Ireland, the club had to increase ticket prices above their initially intended level to cover the costs.
With a maximum capacity of just 6,800, tickets sold out within minutes of going on sale on July 11 and are like gold dust. Dunmanway Town officials admitted that they could have sold five times the number of tickets, had they been available.
Liverpool have been allocated 288 tickets - but shrewd Scouse fans have been trawling the internet for extra tickets.
Dunmanway manager John Buckley said that excitement is now building to fever pitch for the match.
"We certainly believe they will be bringing over some of their big name stars," he said. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez - who is currently overseeing a Far Eastern tour - is expected to name his panel today.
Locals are praying that superstar Steven Gerrard is included in the travelling panel. "He's the player everyone wants to see - I hope he will be coming over," Cork-based Reds fan Danny Sullivan admitted. Dunmanway itself is planning to deck the town out in a sea of red - handy given that Cork's county colours are quite similar.
Sourced from: Irish IndependentReuse content