GAA President turns sod on Hyde development works

The President of the GAA, Aogan O’Fearghail, turned the sod on the refurbishment works on the pitch at Dr. Hyde Park on Tuesday evening.

  The works, which will cost in the region of €700,000, will see a totally new pitch laid which will be ready for play on by February 2017, in time for the National Football League.

  Speaking to The Roscommon People, the GAA President said that the development at Dr. Hyde Park was badly needed in terms of GAA infrastructure in the regions.

  “We have a lot facilities in some parts of the country but there are some areas where we need extra infrastructure and in Connacht and the northern part of the country, in a line north of Galway to Dublin, we don’t have enough facilities for the demand that is there to play our games.

  “The association is growing at a very rapid rate and with the increasing participation of women, added to boys and girls, and the spread of hurling, there is an increased demand for proper facilities.

  “Dr. Hyde Park is in a fantastic location and our Infrastructure Committee agreed with Connacht and Roscommon that this work needed to be done,” he said.

  “The most important thing to get right is the pitch, not the stands or anything else, and we will get the best possible pitch that we can provide here. When the pitch is done then there are other phases to the development here.

  “The GAA will have a major role to play in the future development here at Dr. Hyde Park when the pitch is done. As I have said, we need good facilities in certain areas of the country and this is one of those areas. We are not going to put in a top class pitch and then walk away from spectator comfort, but let’s get the pitch done first, then we can look at other improvements,” he concluded.

  Those present for the sod-turning ceremony included officials of the Connacht Council and Roscommon GAA County Board, the contractors, and representatives of Roscommon Gaels GAA Club. Amongst those in attendance was Barry Molloy, who was one of the people who, back in 1969, purchased the land on which Dr. Hyde Park stands.

  Chairperson of Roscommon County Board Seamus Sweeney said that the timescale of the project will see the pitch fully ready for play in February 2017.

  “The contractor says that the actual pitch will be laid by the end of September. It is important that the pitch is laid now, during the growing season. The pitch will take a few months to bed in after that. Hopefully we will get suitable weather to complete the project as planned.

            “The estimate is that the whole pitch project will cost in the region of €700,000, which will include a top of the range pitch, brand new drainage system, new pitch fencing, goalposts, and ball retainers,” he said.

  “When this project is done we will then be concentrating on our training facility in Runnabracken. When that is started we will then look at the further development of Dr. Hyde Park – and of course it will all depend on available finance – but it is great that we are actually seeing the work start on the pitch today and I thank the President of the GAA for his attendance and support,” he concluded.