Thurles Sarsfields are embarking upon a major development programme at Killinan and have launched a fundraising initiative.
The club now boasts 25 different teams from hurling, football, camogie and ladies football, and extra space is badly needed.
“An investment in the future of Sarsfields”, declared John Cahill, Chairman of Thurles Sarsfields GAA Club when he launched the club’s one million Euro development of new grounds acquired at Toor, Killinan, on the outskirts of the town.
The three-phased development, initiated with the purchase of a 14.8 acre site in 2014, was officially launched on Friday evening last in Arus na Sairsealaigh and is due for completion in 2023.
The first phase, the purchase of the field and carrying out of preliminary works there at a total cost of €240,000, has already been carried out and phase two, costing €550,000 is due to commence this summer.
This includes the provision of a sand-based pitch, four dressing rooms and ancillary facilities, site works and entrance and is scheduled to take three years.
The third phase - floodlighting, hurling wall, and all-weather training facility - is due to commence in 2021 at an estimated cost of €250,000.
Sarsfields GAA club members pictured at the launch with Chairman John Cahill, third from the left.
The club’s present facilities adjacent to Semple Stadium will continue as ”headquarters”, but John Cahill pointed out that with the club fielding twenty five teams between hurling football, camogie and ladies football, The Outside Field, as it is known, cannot cope with the demands on it.
“We absolutely need these extra facilities,” he said.
Michael Maher, club chairman when the scheme was inaugurated, and now heading up the committee charged with the bringing it to fruition, outlined the various stages of the development and said that the plans drawn up resulted from consultation with other clubs which had carried out similar projects and with specialists in the provision of such facilities.
Club Treasurer, Phil Leahy added the club had no choice but to undertake the development and he stressed that the project would only succeed with the total support of club members and the community.
“If we do not provide these facilities our younger members will go elsewhere. We have been very successful on the playing fields in recent years and we have to build on that.
Former players Paddy Doyle, Michael Dundon and Jackie Cooke pictured at the launch.
“To do this we need the support of all in the club. A lot of money is involved but we have to ask for it. It is a big undertaking but together we can do it”, he added.
Ronan Spain pointed out that for those who contribute to it, the project is eligible for tax relief under revenue legislation.
The club can accept donations which attract tax relief and that relief can either be set off by the contributor against their donation or can be passed on to the club increasing the value of the donation.
The individual contribution targetted is €1,000 which can be made up of a single payment, two of €500 , or four of €250, all of which would eligible for Tax relief if paid in one year.
Concluding John Cahill said the development would provide better facilities for club players from underage right up the ranks and was crucial to keeping gaelic games to the forefront in Thurles.
“It is a big challenge, but it is a sustainable development, and realistic. However, we need everybody on board. This is a development for every Sarsfields member”, he added.
The club’s Development and Fundraising Team from whom further information on the development is available is - Michael Maher, Phil Leahy, Ronan Spain, John Cahill, Amy O Gorman, Tony O'Mara, Thomas Callanan, Frank Nolan, Bernie O'Dowd, Peter Lanigan, Brian Burke, Clodagh Loughnane, Jackie Cahill, Tom Barry, Michael Gleeson.