Donegal are going to have to invest in a one million euro weather training pitch at the county’s new multi million euro training pitch in Convoy.
This was the stark message from former county development officer Micheal McMenamin, to the Donegal county committee at their monthly meeting on Monday night.
McMenamin who stepped down having completed five years in the position of development officer and having over seen most of the development at the Centre of Excellence, in Convoy.
He made the comments after hearing the man that took over the role of development officer from him, Terence McShea inform the committee that the Centre of Excellence is closed for maintenance.
And that he (McShea) was unsure when the facility would be available again for games and for training and could not say whether or not the closure was going to be an annual occurence.
“This highlights the need for us to develop a 3 G (all-weather) training pitch at Convoy,” insisted McMenamin.
“We have been granted €1.25 million from Croke Park, and we have drawn down about three quarters of that. So I think the time has come to go back to Croke Park, to look for further funding for a 3 G pitch.
“In light of what has happened this year it is something we must address and fairly urgently. We need to go to Croke Park, with a business plan for a 3 G pitch.
They (Croke Park) have been granting funds towards large projects and developments in other counties and there is no reason why they should not support us in the development of a 3 G playing pitch which is essential given the way the climate is going over the last few years.
“Rainfall is such in the last few years and is forecast to remain the same for the forseeable future. Given that no grass pitch would survive use at this time of the year and that is why we must develop a 3 G pitch.” A 3 G pitch was in the original plan for the Convoy development and there is a dedicated space set aside especially for a 3 G pitch.
But due to financial constraints those plans have been shelved and the development of four sandbased pitches -two of which have been completed and are floodlit.
The next phase of the plan was to develop the two remaining sandbased pitches - work on which was started in the autumn - and to build a new dressings rooms and clubrooms.
But in light of this latest development and the climatic conditions being experienced in recent years, those plans may have to be appraised again.
Decemeber and January can be too very busy months with county teams getting back into training. It is pointless having a multi-million euro training facility that may be out of bounds for those two very busy months.
The two pitches were closed by Terence McShea at the beginning of the month after cutting up badly following a number of training sessions.
At the time the closure was initially for two weeks. But Terence McShea informed Gareth Doherty, Sean MacCumhaill’s that the pitches which were verti-drained last week, were still very wet and when the opened again was very much dependent on the weather.
McShea also told Cormac McGarvey, Naomh Muire, that he was not in a position to say whether the closure of the pitches at this time of the year was going to be a regular occurence.
“I cannot say whether this will happen every year at this time or not. I’m only in the door and I’m not familar enough with the situation to make that call.”
Meanwhile, the development officer also informed the committee that he was setting up an online booking calendar for the Centre of Excellence.
In the meantime the county seniors are alternating their training between Castlefin, Termon and Dunfanaghy.
While the U-21 footballers and senior hurlers are using O’Donnell Park.