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Kildare plan to sell home ground and develop modern stadium

THE FIRST serious move towards getting a new 20,000-plus home for Kildare GAA on a greenfield site will be made early next week.

Local officials are looking for approval to start formal negotiations in the proposed sale of the county headquarters at Newbridge to move to a new site on the outskirts of the town.

Details of the proposal will be unveiled for the first time at next Tuesday's County Board meeting.

The current county grounds, St Conleth's Park, holds 13,000, but the proposed new stadium would hold 20,000 and possibly as many as 25,000.

St Conleth's is particularly central but badly needs major redevelopment and the opening of the new Whitewater Shopping Centre, the biggest of its kind outside Dublin, has also increased traffic congestion in Newbridge on big match days. The shopping centre's commercial success has increased the value of the seven-acre site in the town centre which, as part of Dublin's ever-expanding commuter belt, is one of the fastest-growing in the country. Local property experts have already valued the Kildare headquarters in excess of ?20m.

The proposed alternative is a privately-owned 25-acre site on the Naas side of the town which has already been zoned for a sports stadium.

The County Board needs a majority decision to enter serious negotiations about a move. Ultimately, it will also need the board's full approval to clear any final deal and any move must also be authorised by Leinster Council and Croke Park.

Clare County Board is much more advanced in their discussions about a possible move from Cusack Park in Ennis, while Westmeath are also believed to be looking at moving from Mullingar where their ground is similarly centrally located.

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