Donegal senior footballers are going to have to resort to training at club grounds once more following the closure of the county’s Centre of Excellence in Convoy.
The county’s two training pitches at the multi-million euro training centre have been closed for the forseeabale after cutting up badly in recent weeks. The closure, which took effect from yesterday (Sunday), was confirmed by the county’s new development officer Terence McShea to the Democrat/Peoples Press.
The closure has come about due to a combination of overuse and the spell of wet weather in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
“I’m not sure who was using it as I only took over from Michael McMenamin at County Convention in the middle of December. But on inspecting the pitches before Christmas I discovered both pitches are in bad shape and are badly in need of some repair work,” Terence McShea said last night.
The closure could not come at a worse time for county senior manager, Rory Gallagher and the senior squad, who are officially due to return to training this week.
“It is unfortunate that it should happen at this time. But the reality is that a lot of money has been invested in Convoy and if we don’t close the pitches now and get some repair work done in the next couple of weeks, we will have no pitches to train on later in the year. That is the hard reality,” said McShea.
The repair work is now very dependent on the weather but the development officer said he hoped to begin the remedial work as soon as possible.
“The weather really dictates when we can begin the work, but recovery at this time of year due a lack of growth can be very slow, so it is hard to say how long the closure will be in place.
“We will see what we can get done over the next couple of weeks and take it from there. As of now, the two pitches are closed for the next two weeks and we will review the situation after that.”
The closure has created a headache for Rory Gallagher and Donegal officials who were hoping to use the Convoy facility once they resume training officially this week.
However, new county senior team logistic officer, Aodh Mairtín O’Fearraigh, confirmed that the Robert Emmett’s club ground in Castlefin, and St. Mary’s, Convoy are to used along with Termon’s ground at the Burn Road and St Michael’s ground at the Bridge in Dunfanaghy.
Donegal’s training itinerary for the coming week has been set with training tomorrow night in Castlefin and at Convoy Club ground on Friday night.
The closure will also have reprecussions for Maxi Curran and the Donegal U-21 footballers, who were due to begin their training this week.