*Caherlohan. Photograph: John Mangan
Improvements for Clare GAA’s ‘Centre of Excellence’ are intended to be concluded next year according to the county secretary.
A sub-committee who will work on planned upgrades to Caherlohan until an independent review into Clare GAA has been completed was ratified at Tuesday’s virtual meeting of the Association.
Simon Moroney will head up the group and will be joined by Gerry Lynch, John Fawl, Ann Hayes and John Jones. Their approval was proposed by Michael Curtin (O’Currys) and seconded by Ambrose Heagney (Corofin).
Kilmaley’s Niall Romer voiced his disagreement with the establishment of the sub-committee, “I feel some of these people have been involved in the past and got nowhere”. He referenced both Fawl and Lynch as holding previous involvements with Caherlohan in 2015. “In 2011 we said we would have 7 grass pitches and an alley ball, that never happened,” the kitman with the Clare senior hurlers added.
“I’m only in 10 weeks, will you give me a chance,” newly elected Chairman Jack Chaplin responded. “Why are you putting in some people,” Romer asked. “We couldn’t have better people. These are people of the highest calibre,” the Chairman said.
Tulla’s Brian Torpey queried what is the remit of the sub-committee and who is on the ongoing sub-committee. Chaplin was unaware if there was an existing sub-committee but said they were aiming to get the playing fields to a top class condition.
Following a comment from Romer that the Pat Fitzgerald attributed the inability to collect grass at causing problems at Caherlohan, Chaplin stated, “We are not looking for anyone to blame, we’re trying to move forward”.
Fitzgerald informed the meeting, “it was left because we hadn’t the money to fence it. It was a health and safety insurance issue. Everything is in writing”. He said of Caherlohan, “we bought that in 2005, we paid €2.3m for it 68 acres, a year later Roslevan made €2m for 4.5 acres. We spent every penny we had putting it together”.
He continued, “There is a report for every penny paid, it was not alone certified by one, consulting engineer came down from Tyrone. I can assure anyone that wants to check it that they can”. The Sixmilebridge clubman stated that €10.6m was spent on development by Clare GAA since 2002, “we’d only two pitches and 16 teams needed to train, we spent €11.6m in that period on inter-county teams, there are four reports on that for anyone that wants to listen on it. Since 2002 we’ve spent €22m”.
A commitment was then given by the secretary that improvements to Caherlohan would be finished in 2022, “I had never given a commitment before that (Convention), if I have just produce it for me”.