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Colmcille close to Tunnel vision

THERE'S light at the end of the tunnel for Whitehall Colmcille. They have opened the page on an exciting chapter in their history.

The old Port Tunnel construction site at the junction of the Swords Road and Collins Avenue will be their new home.

They are going to have a pitch, clubhouse and a car park. "It won't happen overnight, but the great thing is that it will happen," states Whitehall chairman Ciarán Hoban.

"And the best thing is that the venue will be right in the heart of our catchment area. That is what pleases us the most."

The development will be done in two phases. "Our plan is to have the pitch in by 2014 for our 60th anniversary.

"The clubhouse will take a few years. We all know times are tough. The pitch alone will cost us €300,000.

"We will be thrilled with any grants we get. We have applied for Lotto funding and we are hoping for a positive result on that by the end of the month.

"But most of the money will be raised by own members and from the local community. Everybody is willing to dig deep. The people of Whitehall have always been very good to us."

Having a base in their heartland will be a big advantage. "People will be able to walk down to watch a game. The passing traffic will see the facility. Having our home on our own doorstep is absolutely huge."

Colmcille's play in Ellenfield and at Cloghran on the Old Airport Road. They have 60 teams now, with over 600 playing members. They put up a commendable show against the formidable Parnell's in the Dublin Senior Football Championship a couple of weeks ago.

Paul Drumm was playing in defence. He's the nephew of one of Whitehall's most famous sons, Tommy, the former Dublin captain.

Paul Clarke is also treated like royalty on Collins Avenue, as is that class defender, Paddy Moran.

But for the modern generation, Cormac Costello is the guy all the Colmcille's Cubs are now looking up to.

"We have built our underage structure up from the bottom. And in the years to come, people will see a lot more Whitehall players on Dublin match programmes," forecasts Ciarán.

Many of those will come from the local schools. They will be able to use the new Whitehall pitch at no cost.

"The club has always been progressive. In every decade we have done something new, but this is by far our biggest ever undertaking."