Friday 28 July 2017

GAA to target east coast in response to big growth in population​

GAA chief Aogán Ó Fearghail Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
GAA chief Aogán Ó Fearghail Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The GAA is to target the east coast from Antrim to Wexford for special attention in an attempt to strengthen its position in areas of rapidly-growing population.

"We won't be neglecting any part of the country but it's clear from the preliminary Census figures that the area of greatest growth population continues to be down along the east coast," said president Aogán ó Fearghail.

Belfast city, Meath, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Wexford are regarded as areas in need of special attention as population numbers increase. "We would be happy with how things are going in Dublin but then a lot of resources have been put in there over the years. It was the right thing to do. The GAA needs to be strong in the capital city and thankfully it is.

Clear

"We now need to look at other areas. It's fairly clear from the Leinster football championship that a gap has opened up between Dublin the rest. We have to do our best to provide the framework within which all counties can improve. Obviously, there are urban areas away from the east coast that need to be looked at too and we intend to do it," said ó Fearghail.

Leinster recently undertook a major review of the hurling scene in Carlow, Offaly, Westmeath and Laois, examining specifically how monies allocated under the €1million Hurling Development Fund were being spent. The findings have thrown up a number of issues which probably relate to all counties throughout the country in both codes.

ó Fearghail said that the focus over the coming years would be on games development rather that stadium projects.

"There are a number of ongoing stadium developments which will be completed but we'll be concentrating more on the games' side of things from now on. It's not just a question of throwing money at it either. It needs to be targeted to specific needs with full controls to make sure that plans are delivered on," he said.

Irish Independent

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