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MacHale Park works ‘on target’


FLASHBACK This was the scene at MacHale Park in Castlebar last August. Last week’s Mayo GAA Board meeting was told that the resurfacing work is on target to be completed in time for the Connacht SFC quarter-final on April 24 next. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Mike Finnerty

IT’S still all systems go for MacHale Park in Castlebar to host the Connacht SFC quarter-final between Mayo and Galway in eight weeks’ time, according to Mayo GAA chairman, Seamus Tuohy.
The Breaffy clubman told club delegates at last week’s County Board meeting that ‘everything is on target at the moment and progressing nicely’ in terms of the pitch resurfacing works at the venue.
“Everything is progressing as I announced at our last meeting,” said Tuohy.
“All our parameters and all our areas of testing were excellent [in early February], it was consistent right across the board. So we are definitely on target.
“We’re having another inspection on the second week in March to make the final decision. “There are a number of recommendations that have been passed on to us from that previous inspection, particularly in relation to nutrients and maintenance care.
“Hopefully at this stage the game will go ahead on April 24.”

Centre of Excellence
MEANWHILE, Tuohy also told the meeting that he ‘would like to see a Centre of Excellence for the county in the long-term’. But he said that the short-term focus was on developing two pitches at the MacHale Park complex.
In response to a question from Ballycroy GAA club delegate, Michael Gallagher, about whether there was ‘a plan, costing and timeline’ for the proposed pitch development, given the current lack of pitches for county teams to train on, Tuohy said that ‘a lot of work has been done on that in the last month’.
“This is a situation that didn’t arise today or yesterday,” said the Mayo GAA chairman.
“This has been a situation that has challenged this county for a considerable length of time.
“We have put in place a committee looking at our two pitches — Mulvey Park and the lower pitch — and they are starting to work on a particular plan and a timeframe and a costing, to upgrade the lower pitch to a 4G/5G and an all-weather pitch at Mulvey Park.
“A lot of work is required and we’re fully committed as a board,” he added.
“These are the two projects that we’ve put in front of the Cairde Maigheo group at this stage. “Once the Mulvey Park committee come up with a plan, and we’d hope that will happen sooner rather than later, then we will start our fundraising programme.
“Within the next three to four months, I would like us to be very active in that area.
“We need to come up with an exact plan, what is required here,” continued Tuohy.
“The only two pitches we have in our possession at the moment are the two pitches attached to MacHale Park. That is the reality of the situation. The Lough Lannagh project has been put on hold and that has happened before my time in this chair.
“In the short-term, what I am working on is those two pitches which would meet a lot of the demands at the moment.
“In the longer-term, yes, I would like to see a Centre of Excellence for this county. This county needs a Centre of Excellence with all the teams that are involved and the demands and the amount of young people playing our game.
“But that doesn’t happen immediately. A lot of planning and fundraising has to go into that.”
He also said he wanted to acknowledge the support of Mayo clubs and the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in helping to facilitate inter-county teams for training recently.
Meanwhile, Garrymore GAA delegate, John Farragher asked for assurances that clubs would not be levied in order to pay for any future development projects.
“The clubs have to be protected on this. The funding has to be in place before this is done,” he said.
Mayo GAA secretary Dermot Butler clarified that clubs would not be levied, and added:
“These things can’t be rushed into. It’s unfortunate that MacHale Park is closed but, let’s be very clear about it, and I say it now, MacHale Park when it’s finished will not be used as a training facility.”


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