As Donegal prepare for Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final showdown with Cork there was good news off the field too with the announcement of a €250,000 Croke Park grant towards the county’s new training facility at Convoy.
The announcement was made by the President of the GAA, Liam O’Neill, in Convoy yesterday and is a major shot in the arm to the county’s financial coffers and the county’s bid to have new training centre open by next year.
The €250,000 is in addition to the €1 million in grant aid the county has already recieved towards the Convoy project that is currently under development and estimated to cost in the region of €3.6 million when completed.
The latest tranche of funding is specifically geared towards floodlighting two of the four playing pitches on the site. It is also to cover of the cost of fencing the entire site.
“It is great news and a major boost for the project,” said county development officer, Michael McMenamin.
“It means now that we can complete this phase of the development and we would hope to have the two pitches open and available to train on by this November.”
The announcement also follows a pledge given by the chairman of the Croke Park Infrastructure, Seamus McCloy, last year, which led to a major fund-raising drive by the Donegal county board and the board’s fund-raising arm Club Tir Chonaill.
Derry man McCloy, on a visit to the Convoy site last September pledged to grant Donegal the additional €250,000 in funding if the county could raise €125,000 themselves.
And with that figure now achieved following the recent fund-raising initiative, the GAA is honouring McCloy’s pledge.
Yesterday’s visit to Convoy was one of two engagements the GAA President had in Donegal.
Earlier in the day he was in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny, to officially launch the St. Eunan’s promoted GAA For All Project and Peace III funded Coaching initiative.
Speaking at the Convoy in the afternoon, Mr O’Neill said: “I am very impressed with the site and the development and I want to compliment the people who have been driving this project so far.
“The matter came up at Coiste Bainisti on Friday night in Croke Park when we were informed that Donegal had achieved their targets and they have to be complimented on that,” said Mr. O’Neill.
The President urged them to continue with the development and not to worry unduly if they don’t achieve every target as it was a huge project with a lot of work involved.