Greenmount’s Premier League Groundsmen set to score at Wembley

Excitement is reaching fever pitch for CAFRE Sports Turf students Michael Dundee (left) and John Kennedy (right)  before they head off to Wembley Stadium to prepare the pitch for Saturday�"s FA Cup Final. Their tutor and No 1 supporter Paul Campbell (middle) hopes the team will have a day to remember. Photo Andrew Towe Parkway Photography
Excitement is reaching fever pitch for CAFRE Sports Turf students Michael Dundee (left) and John Kennedy (right) before they head off to Wembley Stadium to prepare the pitch for Saturday�"s FA Cup Final. Their tutor and No 1 supporter Paul Campbell (middle) hopes the team will have a day to remember. Photo Andrew Towe Parkway Photography

Wembley’s football pitch is set to be match-ready for Saturday’s FA Cup Final thanks to some help from a four-man team from CAFRE College.

The groundsmen will be playing a key role by preparing the pitch for this weekend’s game, one of the major highlights of the football season.

The team won the opportunity to be part of the grounds team by winning the prestigious SALTEX College Cup where sports-turf students from across the UK have to demonstrate excellent academic abilities and turf skills.

“Taking part in the SALTEX competition was in itself great experience for us. The two-hour competition included an exam on turf management and using live test samples to identify potential threats to the health of turf. When we heard we’d beaten all the other teams, it felt like we’d just won the FA Cup!” said Michael Dundee from Antrim.

Jon Crawford from Newcastle added: “It is such an honour to be able to play such a crucial role in the FA Cup at Wembley. We are just delighted to be taking part and are confident all our training at Cafre’s excellent training and facilities will mean we deliver a top-class job.”

Chelsea supporter, John Kennedy said they have a number of roles, adding: “As well as putting up the nets, we will assist in lining out and be on divot duty at half time. We need to make sure this hallowed turf is in pristine condition.”

Coleraine-based team member Gavin White said: “Not only are we getting to prepare the 105m x69m turf for this much anticipated London derby cup final, we will have pitch-side seats for the game - a prize that money can`t buy and something that will live long in our memories. No matter who picks up the cup we already feel like winners.”

Greenmount’s Sports Turf tutor Paul Campbell said: “Winning the opportunity to work at Wembley with their top groundsmen and in front of millions of people world-wide, is such unique opportunity for the team as well as Greenmount Campus. It allows us to showcase our students’ skills to the industry and promote the first-class facilities we have at the Sports turf and Golf Academy.”