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Sports Minister pledges support for Centre of Excellence

ABBOTSTOWN is the most likely site of Dublin's first centre of excellence after Minister for Sports, Arts and Tourism, Leo Varadkar, gave his backing to the project and its development at the National Sports Campus site.

Speaking at the launch of "The Blue Wave: A Strategy for Dublin GAA 2011-2017" in Croke Park last night, Minister Varadkar noted the lack of a GAA presence at the complex and said he was ready to enter into negotiations with the Dublin County Board with a view to leasing a site.

The construction is subject to funding but represents one of the key aims of the high-powered, wide-reaching document, along with the establishment of another identical centre on the Southside of the city and the building of a 25,000 seater stadium.

Other aims and objectives stated in the plan, which covers the next five years include:

1: That Dublin win a senior football All-Ireland every three years, a hurling All-Ireland every five years, a minor football and hurling All-Ireland every three years and underage All-Irelands every five.

2: To minimize the number of dual players at inter-county level from the ages of 16/17.

3: Develop local area regional plans and appropriate club structures for each of the regions. The 10 Local Area Development Regions (LADRs) will undergo a review and develop an itegrated strategy, encompassing club structures, participation initiatives and physical infrastructure.

4: Increase participation rates as at January 2011 by a factor of 10pc by the end of the plan in 2017.

5: Develop the Dublin GAA brand as the leading sports brand in Ireland.

6: That "Dublin's flagship teams -- our senior footballers and hurlers -- must never be divided".