Sunday 25 August 2019

GAA to press for stadium funding despite rugby snub


Several GAA county grounds featured on the rugby bid (stock picture)
Several GAA county grounds featured on the rugby bid (stock picture)
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The GAA expect that government funding for stadium development will not be cut following the IRFU's failed bid to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Several county grounds featured on the rugby bid and since most of them required upgrading for the World Cup, it would have been a real bonanza for the GAA.

In addition to having most of the work carried out for free as part of the World Cup project, the GAA would have earned a substantial amount in rent money.

The grounds will still require work over the coming years but doubts arise over how much support will be forthcoming from government, especially in light of its €30 million grant for Páirc Uí Chaoimh which was part of the rugby bid.

However, GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl believes that government assistance will continue to flow.

"I would argue that we should always get State assistance to upgrade our grounds. If you took GAA facilities out of Ireland, there is little enough sporting infrastructure.

"I believe there is a strong case for the level of funding that was promised by government to continue," said Ó Fearghaíl, who is currently in Perth for the International Rules series.

Commenting on the vastly altered GAA schedules which will apply from next year, he predicted that they would not only benefit the All-Ireland hurling and football championships but also greatly increase the lot of club players.

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He would favour a secondary football championship for lower-ranked counties, rather than have them enter the All-Ireland qualifiers.

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