Home » Breaking News » Clare club calls on council to keep pace with village’s growth
At the launch of the Crusheen GAA Development Plan Phase One Raffle for a Skoda Fabia were, Michael O Connor, Crusheen GAA, Joe Gantly, Crusheen NS teacher, Therese O Connell, Crusheen NS Principal, Siomha Perill, Club player, Rebecca Keane, Camogie Club Development Officer and Caoilfhionn Perril, Club Player. Photograph by John Kelly

Clare club calls on council to keep pace with village’s growth

CRUSHEEN GAA has secured planning permission for a new astroturf facility, along with improvements to the accessibility of its grounds, writes Owen Ryan.

The club is currently raffling a Skoda Fabia acquired from Al Hayes Motors to help with the cost of what will be the most significant expansion of its facilities in over 30 years.

Michael O’Connor, whose five-year term as chairman of the club has just concluded, said that with Crusheen’s population expanding, it is important that the club keeps progressing.

“Crusheen in the last number of years has spiralled in size, there’s nearly 300 houses in the village and more to come.

“Also, on every side road you travel, there have been more and more one-off houses built over the last 10 or 12 years. It’s great for the community and so many people are joining the club every year, it’s nearly difficult to keep track. 

“Two years ago we had to decide would we stay as we are or expand. The facilities we have have been fantastic and brought us to the heights of Clare hurling, but you’ve got to keep moving on and thinking about the community more than anything.”

On the new development, he said, “We were granted planning permission for an astroturf, a new two-way entrance and we will improve the dressing rooms that we have at the moment.

“If phase one is completed we’d be looking at a second phase with a clubhouse of a standard that could hold events to a certain degree, but that’s four or five years down the line.”
Putting the new astroturf in place requires a huge investment.

“Crusheen first owned Ballyline and that was sold to Clare County Board, we opened the facilities here in 1990. This is the biggest development since then, it’s probably going to be a €350,000 project in phase one.

“They’d probably have built the whole facility for £100,000 30 years ago, the field and dressing rooms and everything like that. We’ve a lot of fundraising done in the last two or three years, quietly gathering money.

“But in the last year the quotes we had got have increased dramatically because of Covid inflation. To that end we decided we’d raffle a car and it’s going well. It’s well advertised what we’re trying to do and the community are behind us.”

He thanked Al Hayes Motors for its support of the club as it proceeds with the development. 

There is already a small astroturf area in place at the club’s grounds, and this is going to be retained after the new development. A walking track will be put around the new astroturf. 

O’Connor says the number of children getting involved in Gaelic games each year is around three times what it would once have been, reflecting the expansion in population of Crusheen. 

Given that increase, and the fact that more housing is planned in the area, he says it is important that amenities are also provided.

“The local authorities need to recognise that Crusheen has been left behind. We’ve hundreds of houses now, this is a major population spot. From here you could be in Athlone or Charleville in an hour or so, so it covers a very large area. A lot of people have moved in here and the local authorities need to see that when the housing is put in, there’s a need to offer something back to the community in terms of facilities.”

Therese O’Connell is principal of Crusheen National School. As it stands now the school uses the club’s pitch when the weather is good and the ground is hard, but that isn’t an option for large parts of the school year.

“It’s a difficulty for us in the winter months particularly, so the thought of having an astroturf is absolutely fantastic, we’d be able to use it all year around and it’d benefit the kids hugely.”

She said that having some physical activity is very good for children’s academic development.

“The more active they are the more energy they’ll have in the classroom. If they’re agitated or anything like that they’ll get a chance to burn off a bit of steam and then be able to focus a bit more on the academic side of school life.”

Rebecca Keane is development officer of Crusheen camogie club and she feels the astroturf will help ease pressure on the grounds.

“It’ll be a huge addition. During the summer when all the different age groups are going at the same time, it can be hard to get space, so any extra facilities that are there will be a great bonus.”

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