Big Boat
Westport GAA

Westport GAA invest in future

[Source: Mayo News – Mike Finnerty]

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There can be no disputing the ambition and foresight of Westport GAA Club after they officially opened their €500,000 astroturf development last weekend – and also outlined their plans for a new clubhouse in the near-future.

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The West Mayo club unveiled their state-of-the-art astroturf pitches to the general public last Saturday, bringing to fruition a six-month project that will primarily provide training facilities for Westport’s underage footballers during the winter months.

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The astroturf pitches will also be available to all 30 teams that currently operate under the Westport GAA club umbrella as underage and adult football, ladies football, camogie and hurling all go from strength to strength in the town. The astroturf facility will also be available for hire to the general public as a means of generating revenue for the ambitious club.

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“We bought this field in order to expand the GAA property and last year we decided we were going to do something with it,” club chairman, Seamus Moran, told The Mayo News last week.

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“A few ideas were thrown around but we decided to go for the astroturf pitch option, mainly to cater for our underage footballers during the off-season. We sat down, costed it out, got the go-ahead from the club and started work last October.

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“We feel it’s money well spent,” he added. “It will take time to pay it back but we feel we’re providing a facility for the town and for the community. I also see this as being a huge asset to national schools in the area. This is a safe, secure facility that can be used by children into the future.”
Westport GAA Club currently boasts 500 members and has a vibrant, progressive underage structure with two football teams operating at every level from U-8 to U-16.

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The club has spent €300,000 on draining and reseeding its two main playing pitches in the last five years. Plus. with plans in the pipeline to develop a clubhouse for meetings, functions, and Scór activities, their investment in the club’s future is set to break the €1m barrier very soon.

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“Primarily, our fund-raising is coming from our club members that go out, every week, selling club lotto tickets,” explained Seamus Moran.

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“Senior players also play their part in that regard and we would ask the people of Westport to make whatever contribution they can to the future of the GAA club in the town. Once people come down here and see the facilities we have, we’re sure the people of Westport will support us.

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“Hiring out the astroturf is also going to generate revenue,” he continued. “First and foremost it is for the use of Westport GAA club but we are also taking bookings from other GAA clubs, companies, other sports clubs and even birthday parties. So any children aged between 6 and 12 can come down here for an hour and have a game in a safe, secure environment.”

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The astroturf development was masterminded by Westport GAA club’s development committee under the chairmanship of John Coughlan and Seamus Moran. A rota of volunteers has also been drawn up to help run the astroturf pitches and no effort has been spared to ensure that everything works like clockwork.

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“An awful lot of people have worked very hard to bring this project to fruition but Seamus [Moran] has been the driving force behind it,” said Pierce O’Reilly, vice-chairman of the club. “He has got everyone together, discussed every aspect of it, and got it to this stage. The development wouldn’t have been possible either without the input of the Rural Social Scheme. Our main sponsors [Castlecourt Hotel, Wyatt Hotel and Michael Moran] do trojan work too.”

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If you would like to hire the Westport GAA club astroturf pitch, call (086) 8811800.