Saturday 16 December 2017

GAA give the green light to £4m revamp of Ruislip

London players, from left, Lorcan Mulvey, Tony Gaughan and Mark Gottche celebrate their side's victory over Sligo at Ruislip
London players, from left, Lorcan Mulvey, Tony Gaughan and Mark Gottche celebrate their side's victory over Sligo at Ruislip
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

THEIR morale may have taken a battering in Sunday's Connacht final but there was double good news for London's history-making footballers yesterday.

First they discovered that they will fulfil their dreams of playing in Croke Park because their All-Ireland qualifier against Cavan on Saturday has been fixed as part of a treble-header at Jones's Road.

And last night it emerged that the GAA have approved grant aid to help the London County Board carry out a £4m revamp of their headquarters in Ruislip.

"We have been working with London over the last few months behind the scenes," GAA president Liam O'Neill revealed. "I suggested to them that I would love to see Ruislip revamped.

"We approved funding for that at last Friday's Management Committee meeting, the same weekend they were in their first Connacht football final, and it involves a substantial investment.

"The total project will cost over £4m and will result in a ground they can be proud of. The plans will be revealed when planning permission comes through but we have given it the go-ahead," he confirmed.

Cavan selector Anthony Forde looks likely to be absent from the sideline for the clash with the Exiles due to suspension.

Forde is facing a proposed eight-week ban, and while he has lodged an appeal and is awaiting confirmation of a date for that hearing this week, it is doubtful it will be lifted completely.

Suspension

The suspension is related to the half-time incidents that marred the Breffni County's second-round qualifier defeat of Fermanagh two weeks ago, when Forde and an Erne County official were banished to the stand by the match referee.

It did not affect Forde last weekend – when Cavan pulled off a thrilling extra-time defeat of Derry in Celtic Park – because he had already lodged an appeal and it was pending.

Cavan boss Terry Hyland also has some injury worries ahead of their fourth-round clash with the Exiles as key midfielder David Givney limped off against Derry and they are awaiting a progress report on his ankle.

The game pits London's star man Lorcan Mulvey against many of his old friends and team-mates as the towering Butlersbridge man played for Cavan for seven years until he moved to Britain in 2011.

And it will not be a first outing in Croker for London captain Seamus Hannon.

The Edgesworthtown native played both hurling and football for his home Longford before he moved to London, winning a Lory Meagher medal at HQ in 2010.

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