Monday 16 October 2017

Dublin club eye €3m rugby deal

Marie Crowe

Marie Crowe

Cuala GAA club are on the verge of finalising a multi-million euro expansion move into the grounds of Blackrock RFC.

As well as agreeing a ground- sharing deal with the south Dublin rugby club, they have also put plans in place to buy some land to develop an all-weather field within the Stradbrook Road grounds.

Cuala will go back to their members in the coming weeks to hold a vote on the proposal.

"It is a two to three million euro project," explained Cuala secretary Declan Murray. "There is the purchase of the land off Blackrock to turn into an all-weather facility. Then there is work to do in conjunction with Blackrock on the top pitch to make that a full-size Gaelic pitch. There is also some work to do in the dressing-rooms."

Murray reckons that the club will have to come up with €1m initially and then make up the deficit in the ensuing 12-18 months.

"We will set up a fundraising committee and we will have a number of avenues which we will be approaching," he said.

"Obviously we will look for internal donations, and/or loans from our members. We will also be looking to the county board for a loan/grant and we will be looking to Croke Park for a loan/grant."

Cuala initially met Blackrock when they were proposing the development of a small all-weather facility at the end of their main pitch.

The rugby club had put out some feelers locally to see if anyone was interested in getting involved. Cuala had a look but the development was too small for Gaelic games.

It was during these discussions that a possibility of a more extensive deal came to light.

The dual GAA club were interested in expanding as they didn't have enough facilities to cater for their 2,000 members and 95 teams. However, before taking the discussions any further they approached the Dublin County Board to get their views on a possible ground-sharing deal.

"We didn't want to get involved in something that was contrary to the GAA rules and ethos. John Costello, the secretary of the county board, visited the rugby club to have a look and hear what we were thinking. He was happy and told us to get our plan down on paper."

The club plan to keep their existing facilities. They have pitches in Dalkey, Meadow Vale, Thomastown and Shankhill.

Sunday Independent

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