THE Clare GAA €4.8 million Centre of Excellence at Caherlohan has been the subject of intense scrutiny and discussion over the last few months, in response to which clubs were invited to visit the facility for themselves last weekend before making any submissions to the new strategic group focusing on the future of Clare GAA.
The Clare Champion understands that 13 clubs sent representatives on the day to view the facility, just less than a quarter of all clubs in the county. Here Derrick Lynch guides you through gallery of photographs from inside the gates of Caherlohan.
GYM: It is accepted by the majority of stakeholders that the gym at the facility is in need of an upgrade, but this also could be put down to the growth and development in S&C trends since the doors were first opened in 2015. The motto of “First In, Last Out” adorns the walls along with a reminder from both the Clare senior hurling and football panels that the need for the right attitude and mindset doesn’t just begin and end on the field.
To the back of the gym, there is an office space which leads back out on to the main corridor.
DRESSING ROOMS: The hurling and football panels have their own dedicated main dressing room facilities, with individual lockers for each player. There are also auxilary dressing room facilities at the front of the building.
RECREATION ROOM: The recreation room, which is decorated by pictures of Clare’s All Ireland win in 2013, also hosts a pool table, ping-pong table, and television. To the rear of this room are three orange ice bath tubs which look to have seen better days.
ANALYSIS ROOM: There is an analysis room with tiered cinema style seating facing a large screen.
STORE ROOMS: There are two still to be finished store rooms at the facility which currently are used to store weight bags and other equipment.
OPEN PLAN ROOM: To the rear of the building lies an open plan room with double doors which lead out onto the first of the pitches at the facility. In the past, county board meetings have been held but the high ceiling caused issues with the acoustics while on nights when weather turned poor, the sound of the rain on the roof also was a factor. It is generally used (pre-Covid) as a catering room for team meals etc.
PITCHES: There are two floodlit pitches to the left of the driveway as you enter the facility, with the footballers making their home on the one nearest the road. The senior hurlers have had sessions on the adjecent pitch. The pitch to the rear of the building is surrounded by a low level fencing and had been primarily used by previous hurling managements as their base. There are two more pitches behind this which have not been put into any major use as of yet.
ROADWAY: The roadway to the venue is a gravel finish, as are the car parking facilities near the building. It is not yet known if there any plans to apply a tarmac finish in the future.
DECORATIONS: The only on field success for Clare GAA that is currently promoted within the main building is the All-Ireland win of 2013. There are no images of the All Ireland winning sides of 1995 and 1997, no imagery from Clare’s Munster championship win in 1992, or images from the period in which Clare dominated the U-21 hurling grade at the early part of the last decade. The only images which have been placed on the main hallway walls are stand alone pictures of the Liam McCarthy and Sam Maguire trophies.