Friday 9 December 2016

Offaly ready to pay as they go for new centre

Published 26/10/2015 | 02:30

Ireland's Shane Lowry in action during the British Masters at Woburn Golf Club earlier this month
Ireland's Shane Lowry in action during the British Masters at Woburn Golf Club earlier this month

The middle of Ireland is flat - therefore it gets more rain than the rest of the place.

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For GAA teams, winter training has always been a difficult assignment as getting dry playing fields in winter was rare. Clubs try to protect their own pitches, often leaving county teams without a suitable venue. This has always been a problem in the GAA in Offaly even in my own time there but now Offaly County Board has at last taken the bull by the horns and are in the process of building a wonderful new Training Centre in Kilcormac in the centre of the county.

Various grants from Leinster and Croke Park will provide about €2 million but Offaly GAA have to raise over half a million - and soon. This is a project where there can be no borrowing; in fact it is a Pay As You Go only venture. If Offaly cannot raise their full amount then the promised funding will be cut by the amount of the deficit thereby limiting the finished product.

A full-scale fundraising operation is under way and it is hoped to complete it by the end of the year. This will be a major concrete step in restoring Offaly teams to the high levels achieved in the county since as far back as 1960.

Golfer Shane Lowry from a true-blue Offaly GAA lineage will be a key figure in this operation.

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