The dividend of opening Croker
Published 10/12/2012 | 05:00
The money the GAA earned during the time Lansdowne Road was being rebuilt is still permeating through the ranks, with the Connacht Council's new headquarters in Ballyhaunis the latest to benefit.
There are still GAA diehards who insist that Croke Park should have been kept for Gaelic games only.
However, if a chart was produced outlining the many GAA projects around the country that have been largely paid for from rugby and soccer gate receipts over the last decade, then even those doubters would have to admit that Sean Kelly's decision to open up Croke Park for soccer and rugby was a very good one.
The new Connacht facility, which is near Knock Airport, has five all-weather pitches and a 3G pitch as well as fabulous other facilities rarely dreamt of before now in GAA complexes.
But the top-class playing pitches are the most important, as they cater for underage and colleges' games in particular.
It can truly be said that the funding from Croke Park was well spent – as, of course, was the €4m or more raised by the Connacht Council itself towards these facilities.