DESPITE the current Covid-19 restrictions limiting fundraising, Midleton GAA Club have continued to progress work at the club's new 37-acre site at Park South, which was purchased in September 2016 on the outskirts of the town.
In fact, a significant step forward was taken in recent times with the seeding of the first two pitches at the venue, which in years to come is set to become a huge hub of activity.
At a recent Open Day, members of the public were invited to view the work that has now been completed in phase one of what is very much a long term plan. All going well the first matches will take place on the new pitches by mid-summer next year.
Cork's 1984 All-Ireland winning captain John Fenton is one of the major driving forces behind the committee that has overseen the considerable progress made thus far.
"Our ambition is that this venue will be a mecca for Gaelic sports in East Cork. The Covid crisis may have put a damper on the timeline but we are determined to make this a home to be proud of for all the hurling, football, camogie and ladies football teams in our club.
"Our proximity to many local schools is something that will be a huge advantage and we also hope that further down the road the Cork County Board may be interested in using the new facility as a base for coaching teams. Looking ahead, the big factor about this project is that it is long term. We bought the land when it became available and it's here for the future generations."
Fenton acknowledges that the project has to be completed one step at a time and by realistic means.
"With the Covid issues, we have minimised our borrowings to a level that we can sleep at night, but we are nevertheless in a position now that we have to actively fundraise to continue our progress".
With that in mind, the club has just launched a new mega lotto, boasting a weekly jackpot of €15,000. A Marathon Family Walk is also listed for the October Bank Holiday Weekend, with guests Rob Heffernan and Brendan Boyce already committed to the cause.
Now that the two new pitches are already showing lush green grass and with a spacious car park and main entrance and driveway nearing completion, thoughts are already turning to the next phase at Park South and the remaining 27 acres.
Five full pitches is the ultimate plan, with the main pitch earmarked to host County Championship matches. A 4G artificial pitch is also included, but much may depend here on the economic climate over the next few years.