AMBITIOUS PLANS An artist’s impression of how Westport GAA club’s planned new development on the Golf Course Road will look.
THE family of a man who was instrumental in the creation of Westport GAA Club have this week pledged a contribution of €1m to its future development.
The late Jack Kenny, played an integral part in the development of the club as a player and club officer from the 1920s right through to the late ‘50s. He was the first clubman to play senior for Mayo and was later chairman of the County Board.
Last night (Monday), at an online meeting of the club executive, it was announced that Jack’s family had made a donation of €500,000 for the new pitch development on the Golf Course Road, with the promise of a further €500,000 in the future.
Danny McLaughlin, the Westport GAA Project Lead, said the donation is a major momentum-shifter for the club and everyone is hugely appreciative.
“These monies will generate significant momentum for this much needed project in these very difficult times. This is a marvellous gesture by the family in remembrance of their father Jack Kenny, the first Westport man to play senior football for his county and also an industrious GAA man who worked tirelessly for the club and county over a number of decades.”
The donation is a huge boost to the proposed development on the Golf Course Road where the club hope to construct a Croke Park-size football pitch with four sets of changing rooms, 250-seater stand, floodlights, and a clubhouse. The construction of the new facilities will help alleviate pressure on the current two pitches at St Patrick’s Park on the Newport Road.
Westport GAA club chairman, Charlie Lambert thanked the Kennys for the generous support and said the donation will be put to very good use.
“I am absolutely thrilled and hugely appreciative of such a generous offer, particularly from a Westport family that has had such a strong connection with the club, both on and off the field. The donation will play a significant part in the construction of the new pitch development, which coincidentally is just a stone’s throw from the Bog Gate – the location of the family home of Mr Jack Kenny.”
Jack was a very talented footballer and a key member of the Attyreech football team that won the Mayo Junior Championship in 1924. This led to his selection for the Mayo Junior squad in 1925. He was a star of the Mayo Junior team that beat Leitrim in the Connacht Final of 1927. On that same day at the same venue, Jack played for the Mayo senior team that overcame Leitrim in the final of the Connacht Senior League.
Jack’s performances at right corner-back won him a permanent place on the Mayo senior team, becoming the first ever Westport clubman to play senior football for Mayo, something the family are very proud of as his daughter, Ann Hope explained.
“He achieved provincial success in both the league and championship campaigns from 1927 until 1931. An injury sustained on the famous New York trip in 1932 ended his inter-county career but despite this injury, he continued to play with his native Westport until 1937, when he then retired from football.”
In 1958, Jack Kenny was one of the leading negotiators that secured land on the Newport Road to develop St Patrick’s Park, the current home of Westport GAA, so it is ironic that his family would be instrumental in this the latest phase of development, says Club President Paddy Muldoon.
“Our club owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Kenny family, because in the very early years, we had many different titles as a club. However, when the eight Kenny brothers got involved, they managed to consolidate them all to form one club, St Patrick’s GAA Club Westport.
“The Kenny family have left a legacy as real patriots of their time in Westport GAA.”
MEANWHILE, a proposal that Mayo County Council would agree a 99-year lease with Westport GAA for four acres of land on the Golf Course in Westport, and as part of the agreement, Inishoo Management Ltd, would also lease four acres of adjacent land for 99 years to Westport GAA, was passed without objection at yesterday’s (Monday’s) meeting of Mayo County Council.
Westport GAA will pay Mayo County Council a total of €84,000 over a three-year term in order to secure the 99-year lease agreement on the four acres of land in question.
This land will be the site of the new Westport GAA club development outlined above.