Northern Ireland

Pitching in: Clive Richardson Limited have Europe at their feet

It might be a year away, but preparations are well under way for Euro 2012 in the Ukraine.

One Northern Ireland firm are quite literally keeping the show on the road.

Portadown-based Clive Richardson Limited are building the pitches for two Ukrainian stadia - the venue pitch for the final in Kiev and at FC Metalist Kharkiv.

Image caption Pitching-in: the Clive Richardson team

The company have installed stadium pitches across Europe, including Croke Park in Dublin and the All-England Show Jumping Arena in Hickstead.

They are also behind training grounds for top UK premier league football clubs like Manchester United and Fulham.

The technology that they have developed is called an In Situ Air Sparging System.

Rather than just heating the ground under the pitch to stop the earth freezing, their new innovation blows warm air up through the turf to warm the grass itself.

It is not just to keep the players toes warm but to allow pitches to grow grass even in temperature of -25C, keeping the ground good and healthy through the Ukrainian winter.

Both Ukrainian projects have created an additional 20 jobs in a workforce of 115.

As well as actually installing the pitches, some of the company's staff are staying on in the Ukraine to ensure the pitches remain on top form.

Manager Clive Richardson said: "We are now receiving enquiries worldwide for these products and services, mainly based on referrals."