Gort na Mona facilities problem worsens
GORT na Mona Chairman Peter Hughes says that his club have had to take drastic measures to deal with the chronic lack of training facilities in west Belfast.
In order to meet the costs of renting playing facilities, the club have started asking parents to pay for their children to train with the club.
The club have over 350 players, but just one pitch, and that has to be rested during the winter. The only way they can cater for their underage players is to rent facilities located in local schools, Falls Parks or Colin Glen. But these can be as expensive as £40 per half an hour. And according to chairman Peter Hughes this sort of expense is causing a considerable drain on club funds.
“This is the first year that we have had to ask children to pay. We thought we would never have to,” said Hughes.
Unfortunately the situation is that serious. The possibility of buying a second training pitch is not feasible at the moment because the cost is too high, and there are no sites available.
However, they are intrigued by the proposed development at the nearby Falls Park. This is a council ground which has two council run pitches that are available to rent by the local clubs.
In 2006, the Antrim county board ran a study of pitches provision across Belfast. It concluded that the Falls Park needed to have two pitches, but they had to be properly secured. In the past pitches have suffered vandalism.
This year, some movement has been made on the development.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday June 21. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here