Carrigaline GAA club investing almost €1 million in ambitious upgrade

They will develop a new area for use as purpose-built 'Go Games' pitches for the younger generation
Carrigaline GAA club investing almost €1 million in ambitious upgrade

Evan Cooke, Ballincollig, closes in on Stephen Dwane, Carrigaline, during the 2020 Premier SFC. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

CARRIGALINE GAA Club have recently announced details of an extensive 10-year development plan, which will see a major upgrade of facilities.

No less than 26 different points have been earmarked as part of a project that will see most of the work completed within the first five years at a cost of just shy of €1 milion.

Lockdown may have stalled activity on the playing fields but behind the scenes, Carrigaline GAA have made huge strides, with a series of meetings under the guidance of Development Committee chairperson Kevin O’Driscoll, leading to a roadmap being laid out for the years ahead.

With over 1,000 members, spread across hurling football, ladies football and camogie, the club looks set for a very exciting decade of activity.

Jim Landy is the current club chairman and speaks with a real sense of enthusiasm as he sets out what lies ahead.

“About six months ago, a decision was made that we needed a major upgrade around the club.

Following the purchase of land from Cork County Council adjacent to one of four pitches, we aim to develop this area for use as purpose-built 'Go Games' pitches for the younger generation.

“Our fourth pitch which is used predominantly for hurling will see floodlights installed at a cost of approximately €150,000.

“Significantly for a senior club, we feel we are very much behind in relation to gym facilities.

“It’s a situation that will be now rectified with the building of a purpose-built facility, primarily for the players, but which is also likely to be open to the public in certain time slots.

“Our plan is that we will use the existing three-wall ball alley as the framework, with a further plan also in place to add an outer ball wall just outside.

“With so many other jobs also on the list, we have graded our wishlist in terms of priority.”

 Midfielder Eanna Desmond in action against Blarney.
Midfielder Eanna Desmond in action against Blarney.

In these Covid hit times, finding the necessary funds to assist various grant applications is obviously going to take both work and imagination. The club has already begun that process.

The collection of Christmas trees, setting up of a pop-up GAA casual shop, sale of pitch advertising and the popular Last Man Standing soccer forecast competition have started the cash flow.

Interestingly, the club also made the decision that once they exceed 250 tickets in the Rebel Bounty draw, they would designate all monies to the development project, as opposed to the general day-to-day running of the club.

Key to the ongoing success story has been the wonderful support of Collins SuperValu, who the club is blessed to have as main sponsors.

“We can’t thank them enough for their outstanding backing for our club.

“Just a few weeks back David Collins rubber-stamped the current long-term deal. It’s been a very tough few months for the Collins family with the death of both their parents Barry and Sally.

“The thoughts and prayers of all of us at Carrigaline GAA club have been with the family in recent times,” Jim Landy said.

So to matters on the field of play — as part of that football management team along with Mick McCarthy and Noel O’Riordan.

Jim will be hoping that his side can catch the eye in the senior championship in 2021, having survived in the grade after some dramatic activity on the final day of group action last year.

“David Griffin got a very late point for us that trimmed the margin of defeat against Ballincollig and that score ultimately kept us up on scoring difference.

“I do feel it was a significant achievement for the club, as we were in a very tough group and being honest were given very little chance by outsiders of retaining our status as we were bottom seeds.

Being bracketed with county-winning teams St Finbarr’s, Clonakilty and Ballincollig was a really tough test. 

"Despite the fact we lost all three games, I would still consider it a success that we stayed up.

Clonakilty's Martin Scally putting Jack McCarthy under pressure. Picture: Denis Boyle
Clonakilty's Martin Scally putting Jack McCarthy under pressure. Picture: Denis Boyle

“It was particularly important when you consider the depth of our under-age football panels. We feel we have a duty of care to the 35-plus young footballers that we have in all our juvenile age groups to provide them with a senior team in the club.

“The challenge for all of us administrators is to keep those young players in the game by providing them with games at all levels.”

In hurling after giving a very good account of themselves in topping their group of the Premier Intermediate grade, highlighted by some spectacular scoring stats, Carrigaline ran into a Blarney team hitting top form on the way to county glory.

Before that elimination, Carrigaline had beaten Aghada, Youghal and Courcey Rovers; their combined winning margin was 25 points from three hours of hurling which yielded a total of 7-65.

The aforementioned Kevin O’Driscoll concluded his three-year managerial stint and handed over the reins to Sean O’Se.

Ballinhassig’s Brendan Lombard has been drafted in as the new team coach.

While Carrigline voiced their concerns recently at the County Board level in relation to the shape of the Rebel Óg age groups in future years, there is no doubt that their own recently announced development plans have the interests of all aspects of their thriving club in mind.

It should be an exciting era for all in the blue and gold jerseys.

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