Chairman of Clare GAA Joe Cooney has revealed that over €2 million was spent on the initial purchase of the site for the Centre of Excellencefacility in Caherlohan.
It comes as he outlined an overall breakdown of the costs involved, following on from Clare GAA treasurer Michael Gallagher informing delegates that the total cost of the project currently stands at €4.8 million.
Concerns were expressed at the cost of the development with issues relating to the pitches in the last few years leading to county teams being forced to train in UL and other venues rather than at the Tulla site. In 2018, secretary of Clare GAA Pat Fitzgerald described the problems at the venue as an embarrassment. Mr Cooney said he feels the cost represents value for money and detailed where the money has been spent.
He stated: “The Clare GAA Centre of Excellence in Caherlohan near Tulla is a fantastic facility. There have been questions asked as regards the cost of the project. The purchase of the land out there was €2.315 million. After that, you have to go and develop the project and the first phase of that were the four pitches and the cost of developing the four pitches was €665,208. Phase Two of the development was the dressing rooms, toilets, gym, kitchen area etc and the cost of that came in at €1.304 million. Phase Three was new goalposts, nets at the back of the goals and fencing around the pitches and that came in at a cost of €210,494. There were other fit out developments which took place such as the refurbishment of dressing rooms (€35,000), lockers and upgrade of the Wifi (€8,000) and gym equipment (€7,000). There were contributions made from the supporters club as regards the dressing rooms, doing up the analysis room and the upgrade of the Wifi. They were only small contributions to put extra things in for the panel of players which was much appreciated”.
The O’Callaghan’s Mills clubman also confirmed that more works are in the pipeline, including plans to develop an all weather facility.
“We are not finished in Caherlohan yet. We want to do more developments out there. We have a lot achieved but we want to achieve more. What we want to achieve at the moment is an all weather floodlit pitch. We are working on acquiring funding to do that. We have got costings on it and they are coming in at somewhere between €1.3 million and €1.5 million. We would be hoping that more progress will be made on that in 2020 and my belief is that it will be the final piece of the jigsaw, and we will have an excellent facility out there then. We have the grounds out there to develop this pitch, but it is the funding to develop it is the big thing. The priority after that is to keep them maintained and up to standard and that is something we believe we will be well able to achieve. We had hoped that we could have progress made on it up to now but with so much happening, and with funding for inter-county teams and the upgrading of facilities and maintaining pitches, we weren’t able to make that progress.” he said.
Mr Cooney also confirmed that work is still ongoing in the redevelopment of Cusack Park, with renovations works currently underway on two old toilet blocks. It is hoped that this will be completed before the start of the 2020 National League campaign.