A sample view of an air dome. Tobin Engineers
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Connacht GAA expect €3 million Air Dome to be completed in September

‘It will be a huge addition to the country, not alone to Connacht,’ said provincial secretary John Prenty.

CONNACHT GAA CHIEFS are confident work on their €3 million Air Dome project at the province’s centre of excellence in Mayo will be completed in early September.

Construction on the Air Dome in Bekan commenced last October but was halted in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Work on the facility, which will be the largest indoor sports facility of its kind in the world, recommenced last week after the country moved into phase 1 of the restrictions being eased.

“They’re back since Monday, it’s brilliant to be back on track,” Connacht secretary John Prenty told The42

“We were almost ready to lay the pitch (before the lockdown). I’d say if we got maybe three weeks more without a shutdown we would have that the pitch laid and we’d be ready to be putting the actual dome together.

“But that didn’t happen so now we’re about three weeks behind schedule. Hopefully by the middle of next week we’ll be ready to lay the carpet on the pitch. All the other work will have been done.”

The dome will be 150m x 100m and 26m high with a full size pitch, gym, testing area and office space inside. It will complement the provincial body’s existing facilities in Bekan.

Prenty is optimistic the pitches will be completed by next month with the entire project set to be finished in September.

“The timeline at the minute is looking like, the middle of June the pitches will be done,” he said.

“Towards the middle to the end of June then to mid-July we’ll be working on a dome. Hopefully the dome will be inflated by early August and all the work finished at the beginning of September, hopefully.” 

He confirmed that the €2.1 million already secured in Government funding has not been impacted by the coronavirus crisis. 

The playing surface will be the same size Elvery’s MacHale Park in Castlebar and can accomodate 600 spectators. It’s envisaged that inter-county games could be held in the facility, particularly beneficial during spells of bad weather.

“It will be a major advantage when we have it, when we get it up and running. The reason we built it was because of bad weather in the wintertime and early springtime.

“It will be a huge addition to the country I think, not alone to Connacht. We’re very enthusiast here. There will be an opening for it when the season starts again in the winter.”  

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