A PLACE OF WORK Mayo ladies footballers Noirin Moran (left) and Grace Kelly are pictured at the opening of the Mayo LGFA gym in Swinford.
IT was fitting that the Mayo ladies’ footballers opened their new state-of-the-art, one-of-a-kind gym on International Women’s Day in Swinford last Friday evening.
What once was an unused storeroom in Swinford Community Centre is now the country’s first gym owned and operated by the LGFA, solely for their purpose.
Plans are in place to allow GAA club teams across the county to avail of the facility, but the bottom line is that Mayo LGFA players now possess their own strength and conditioning hub.
“It’s a huge boost,” said Mayo senior captain Niamh Kelly. “The gym is not just for the senior teams; it’s also for the under-14s, under-16s and the minors as well.
“They were showing us the lighter barbells on the way for the younger girls who are only starting off, ones that weight only 5kg. It’s brilliant to have that development at such a young age and they will also be able to get into good habits early, and to see what we’re doing as well.
“To be able to train together is a huge bonus and will hopefully increase the standard of our game.”
To fund the project, a total of €25,000 was raised through various fundraising activities such as a race night, a Christmas spinathon and generous donations for various equipment.
Brian Galvin of Swinford/Killasser LGFA, who is also the Mayo LGFA Development Officer, was instrumental in the initiative, while talented graphic designer, and loyal Mayo supporter, Jen Murphy, did the stunning artwork.
There are also plans in place to convert Swinford Amenity Park in Mayo LGFA’s own ‘Centre of Excellence’ in the coming years, and Niamh Kelly feels they’ve earned it.
“We do a lot of training,” the Moy Davitts star. “We train three times a week on the pitch and then we’re in the gym on top of that, so we probably do the same as the men.
“There’s so much more being done for the ladies now in terms of coverage and support.
“We are doing the hard work… and the management are doing a great job with us this year. “So it’s exciting and hopefully it will progress even more.”
The opening of the gym comes ahead of Mayo’s hugely important National League Division One clash away to Westmeath on Sunday next, St Patrick’s Day.
Mayo are chasing a win to help cement their top-flight status for 2020 after successive defeats to Dublin and Galway.
No venue had been confirmed for next Sunday’s match at the time of going to print on Monday night, but the throw-in is expected to be at 2pm.