Longford hit by fixture switch blow

A section of the stand area at Pearse Park.
Confirmation that Longford’s upcoming Round 3 Championship Qualifier against Kildare will be staged in Mullingar on Saturday has been greeted with disappointment in Longford where the estimated loss to the local economy is in excess of €40,000.

Confirmation that Longford’s upcoming Round 3 Championship Qualifier against Kildare will be staged in Mullingar on Saturday has been greeted with disappointment in Longford where the estimated loss to the local economy is in excess of €40,000.

Due to the reduced capacity of Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, GAA chiefs decided to change the venue for the qualifier in what has been called ‘ a blow’ to local businesses.

However the enforced closure, due to structural issues, of the south west stand and seated areas at Pearse Park earlier this year means that the stadium no longer has the capacity to hold much more than 4,000 people.

“There was 5,200 in Tullamore for the Offaly-Kildare game (Round 2A qualifier) so that was the thing,” said Co Board Secretary, Peter O’Reilly.

“The CCCC (Central Competitions Control Committee) decided the capacity in their eyes wasn’t sufficient and offered us to opt for another venue.”

Had the game been staged at Pearse Park and had each of the projected 4,000 spectators spent an average of €10 each, the overall contribution to Longford’s local economy would have reached €40,000.

Mr O’Reilly said the Co Board had little option but to look elsewhere for a venue.

“It’s always disappointing,” he said.

“You always want a home game. You would love to have your seven games at home in the National Football League, but you have to get up and get on with it.

He wouldn’t be drawn, however, on what the expected cost anticipated remedial works would take ahead of a report from Collins Boyd Engineers. “I wouldn’t have a notion,” he replied.

“I could tell you it will cost €400,000 or €4m. It hasn’t even got to that stage yet.”

Meanwhile, Chamber of Commerce President Fintan McGill conceded local pubs and retailers would feel the biggest brunt of the fixture switch.

The Longford based auctioneer said the matter was “another blow for the town” at a time when hard pressed firms are still struggling to make ends meet.

“It’s a huge shot in the foot, there’s no other way to describe it,” he told the Leader.

“Some businesses, particularly the town’s licenced vintners were looking forward to a bumper weekend but that has obviously been curtailed now.”

“It’s always disappointing,” he said.

“You always want a home game. You would love to have your seven games at home in the National Football League, but you have to get up and get on with it.”

Meanwhile, Chamber of Commerce President Fintan McGill conceded local pubs and retailers would feel the biggest brunt of the fixture switch.

The Longford-based auctioneer said the matter was “another blow for the town” at a time when hard-pressed firms are still struggling to make ends meet.

“It’s a huge shot in the foot, there’s no other way to describe it,” he told the Leader.

“Some businesses, particularly the town’s licenced vintners were looking forward to a bumper weekend but that has obviously been curtailed now.”