Friday 19 October 2018

GAA at Tallaght ground ruled out

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

THE pitch size in the completed Tallaght Stadium will not be increased to accommodate Gaelic Games, it was clarified yesterday.

A New Year statement by Sports Minister John O'Donoghue, revealed by the Irish Independent yesterday, seemed to indicate a softening of attitude towards local GAA interests, one of whom (Thomas Davis GFC) is pursuing a court action to try to get access to it.

But Minister O'Donoghue clarified yesterday that there is no question of the pitch in Tallaght being increased, which rules out the possibility of senior GAA matches being played there.

"There will be no changes to the current pitch dimensions, a larger pitch will not be accommodated within the site," the Minister said. South Dublin County Council (SDCC) stepped in to complete the project started by Shamrock Rovers, and Mr O'Donoghue sanctioned funding for it on the basis of it being a soccer-only stadium.

His latest comments that he would have no objection if the SDCC sanctioned other sports to use it "compatible with it remaining available for senior soccer fixtures" had raised hopes of a GAA breakthrough. His statement, which said that a pitch larger than that required for soccer "cannot easily be accommodated" did not appear to rule that out.

But the Minister unequivocally did that yesterday and, as the Irish Independent indicated, it seems the only access local GAA clubs or the Dublin County Board might get to Tallaght would be for juvenile matches, which would not necessitate changes to the existing pitch dimensions.

No work can take place at the venue at present because Thomas Davis are seeking a judicial review in the High Court and their case is listed to be heard on March 16.

Meanwhile, four Sligo footballers who missed last year's action are set to return to the team for Sunday's Connacht FBD League game against Galway in Tubbercurry.

Brendan Phillips, Johnny Martyn, Kieran Quinn and Gerry McGowan are expected to line out, but midfielder Eamon O'Hara misses out as he is on honeymoon. Karol O'Neill, Kenneth Sweeney, Patrick Naughton, Brian Curran, Padraig Doohan and Adrian Marren miss out.

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