“Fantastic” all-weather LIT Thurles GAA facility will be up and running in Tipperary next year

Brian McDonnell

Reporter:

Brian McDonnell

Email:

bmcdonnell@tipperarystar.ie

“Fantastic” all-weather LIT Thurles GAA facility will be up and running in Tipperary next year

County Board chairman John Devane (Boherlahan-Dualla).

A floodlit full-sized all-weather pitch and an adjoining sand-based grass pitch will be up and running at the Limerick Institute of Technology's Thurles campus on the Nenagh Road as early as 2019. At the July meeting of the Tipperary County Board secretary Tim Floyd described the development as “fantastic” and as an “opportunity not to be missed” before revealing that the project would be finished in 2019.

“We will have the first full-sized all-weather pitch in the county ready to go by the end of next year,” secretary Tim Floyd explained to County Board delegates at the Sarsfield Centre, Thurles on Tuesday, July 24th.

The project has been undertaken by the Limerick Institute of Technology with the Tipperary County Board working in partnership with LIT in order to secure funding. It is understood that based on the relationship between LIT and the County Board that Tipperary GAA will have “first option” on the use of the facility.

Phase one of the project involves the development of two pitches (one all-weather and one sand-based) and is likely to cost €1.5 to €2 million. Phase two, which will be addressed in 2020, will comprise the construction of a covered stand adjacent to the all-weather pitch along with a series of turnstiles.

Responding to Tim Floyd's remarks County Board chairman John Devane said that “all going well we will have this in operation before the end of 2019”. Mr Devane explained that “it is all needed and it is all about making progress” while he also complimented the parties involved on the quality of their work with relation to the project.

KINANE STAND DEVELOPMENT

Chairman John Devane also revealed that the County Board will be ready to submit plans to Tipperary County Council within weeks with regard to the proposed re-development of the Kinnane Stand at Semple Stadium, Thurles.

The project will see the “Old Stand” re-developed into a multi-purpose facility whereby a second level will be created above the exiting concourse at the rear of the stand (but within the existing structure) and house a number of eye-catching new features.

The half of the development positioned nearest the Killinan End Terrace will be feature a full-sized gym, physio room, analysis and changing rooms while the side adjacent to the Sarsfields Centre will include a function room with an adjoining bar and catering facility. In another interesting departure it is understood that the re-development will include access to a new VIP enclosure in the Kinane Stand.

“In case anyone thinks that we are losing the run of ourselves and building for the sake of building this development has been planned for years,” County Board chairman John Devane explained before describing the development as “required”.

Originally, it was proposed to develop Dr Morris Park along similar lines, but the County Board has opted to develop the Kinane Stand which is a much more practical option.

“There is a huge saving (to be made) by doing it the way that it is being done. We have already developed extra facilities at (Dr) Morris Park and we are also working to enhance Semple Stadium,” John Devane (Boherlahan-Dualla) said.

The estimated cost of the project is €5 to €6 million and it is hoped that the development will be financed by a combination of Croke Park/Munster Council grants, Sports Capital funding and revenue from events like the upcoming Féile Classical.

PORTROE DISMAY

Portroe delegate Gus Ryan addressed the July meeting of the County Board and revealed that members of his North Tipperary club were “dismayed” by comments made during the June meeting of the board.

“It was suggested that because the clubs played a couple of matches in April that was the reason for the demise of the Tipperary senior hurling team,” Gus Ryan explained to his fellow delegates before insisting that “it wasn't the clubs' fault”.

“The divisional system has been there for years and that didn't stop Tipperary winning All-Irelands before,” Gus Ryan added.

In response County Board chairman John Devane said: “I would like to reiterate the fact that we don't have a proper system in place for the running of our own competitions”.

Mr Devane insisted that there were “huge issues” with regard to the structure of the club competitions in Tipperary and that is was his personal opinion that retaining the link between the divisional and county championships “does not help”.

“Just because you have always done something does not mean that you should keep doing it,” John Devane (Boherlahan-Dualla) said.

“A lot of work needs to be done to get these championships right,” the County Board chairman added.

TIPPERARY GAA WEBSITE

At the July meeting of the County Board PRO Joe Bracken revealed that members of the executive had been presented with a draft view of the new Tipperary GAA website and that the work involved in revamping the site would soon reach a conclusion.

Joe Bracken said that there was a “small bit more work to be done” while County Board chairman John Devane added that “finally, we will have a proper website”.

FURTHER READING

To keep up to date with all the sporting news in Tipperary please click here - to follow the Tipperary Star sports team on twitter please click here - to follow sports editor Brian McDonnell on Twitter please click here. Alternatively, you can also like the Tipperary Star on Facebook.