Wednesday 7 December 2016

Dublin to fund Abbotstown gym but GAA insist they will receive no preferential treatment

High-performance chief Cullen oversees equipment installation at national centre

Published 08/04/2016 | 02:30

Director-General Páraic Duffy and GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail at the official opening of the GAA National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Director-General Páraic Duffy and GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail at the official opening of the GAA National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Dublin County Board is providing the funding to equip the new state-of-the-art gymnasium at the GAA's National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown.

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But the GAA insist that it won't give them any preferential treatment when it comes to usage.

Dublin County Board chairman Sean Shanley has confirmed that Dublin plan to take up the offer, open to all GAA units, to embrace the facility sited between the M2 and M3 near Blanchardstown and envisages their minor and U-21 teams using it because of a dearth of facilities for them across the city.

And the gym, which is to be kitted out to a high specification, will be a central part of that for their development squads, said Shanley, who confirmed the funding arrangement.

However, the county's senior squads will not be moving their bases to the Centre on the National Sports Campus, Shanley added, preferring instead to remain in DCU (hurlers) and Innisfails/St Clare's (footballers).

The county's recently appointed high-performance manager Bryan Cullen (right) has been overseeing the procurement and specification of the equipment on the back of Dublin's investment, Shanley said.

'The county’s recently appointed high-performance manager Bryan Cullen (right) has been overseeing the procurement and specification of the equipment on the back of Dublin’s investment, Shanley said' Photo: Sportsfile
'The county’s recently appointed high-performance manager Bryan Cullen (right) has been overseeing the procurement and specification of the equipment on the back of Dublin’s investment, Shanley said' Photo: Sportsfile

The GAA's head of communications Alan Milton said a gym "wasn't a top priority" for the Croke Park project team that oversaw the development at the outset.

"Dublin made an observation and approached the GAA on it. They were more than happy to contribute to it because it is located in Dublin," said Milton.

"If there was a gymnasium going in they wanted it to be fit for purpose. But their offer won't give them any proprietary claims on it."

Milton said Cullen's involvement came about because Croke Park didn't have "any expertise in this space".

GAA officials were keen to stress at Monday's press briefing at the €12m facility that there would be no 'anchor tenancy' for Dublin GAA, nor would the county have "any special first say".

Meanwhile, Donegal U-21 manager Declan Bonner is facing a six-month ban after an investigation by the Ulster Council into incidents after the recent semi-final against Tyrone.

Bonner is understood to have received the proposed suspension for comments directed at referee Barry Cassidy. It is expected he will seek a hearing. Donegal and Tyrone face proposed ¤2,000 fines for the scenes after the game which Tyrone won. If the fine sticks for Donegal it will bring to ¤12,000 their total fines for incidents in the last 11 months.

Irish Independent

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