While Longford GAA have scrapped their plans to develop a €3m state of the art Centre of Excellence at Lyneen in Killashee, the search for an alternative site for a training centre will get underway very shortly.
“There is huge disappointment,” revealed Longford GAA secretary Peter O’Reilly following Wednesday’s unanimous decision to abandon the Lyneen plan as it was deemed financially unviable by voting club delegates.
A power-point presentation from Project Managers Collins Boyd Engineering highlighted that issues were identified with the site and an additional €900,000 would be required before development could commence.
Appointed in June, Collins Boyd from Roscommon, were in the process of preparing tender documents and they came across a couple of issues.
Mr O’Reilly explained: “In their expert opinion, which we have taken on board, the project isn’t financially viable. No matter what else was wrong with the site or not wrong, there was a solution to getting over it but at the end of the day, the bottom line was it came down to cost.”
Mr O’Reilly added: “A training centre is something we have been striving for since 2009. Upwards of €400,000 has been spent on the purchase of the site and planning.”
However he pointed out the County Management Committee were given “the authority to go out now and look at alternatives”.
Heralded as ‘A Project for Our Future’, the Centre of Excellence on the 41 acre Lyneen site was launched in fanfare style in November 2009 by then GAA President Christy Cooney, with former GAA County Board Chairperson Pat Cahill also instrumental in spearheading the ambitious plan.
There was a protracted planning process before the green light was given to the proposed development which included 3 new full sized training pitches.
Mr O’Reilly believes Longford needs a training centre to make future progress. “We need a training centre. No ifs, buts or maybes we definitely need a training centre. No work was done out at Lyneen yet, so if we get cracking over the winter and we come up with a different site we could be as far on next summer as we are now.”
He said absolutely nothing had been done because the County Committee first needed to give them permission to investigate alternatives.
Meanwhile, Leinster Council Chairperson and Longford’s Martin Skelly said the provincial body has €300,000 ring-fenced for the project.
He explained: “I am disappointed with the news that the Centre of Excellence will not go ahead at Lyneen but I would like to reassure Longford people that Leinster GAA is still behind a Centre of Excellence for Longford and that there is €300,000 ring-fenced for that project.”
Mr Skelly concluded: “I would hope to see a Centre of Excellence for Longford in the not too distant future.”