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'A much-needed base we can call our own' - Waterford join counties breaking new ground

The Déise will become one of the few women’s Gaelic games counties in the country to own their own pitch outright.

NEW GROUND WILL continue to be broken in women’s Gaelic games with Waterford becoming one of the few counties in the country to own their own pitch outright.

4 AG8I1203 Waterford player Aoife Murray and members of the field development committee, Michael Ryan, Crohan McGregor and Edel Curry with chairperson John Frewen at the new site. Source: Patrick Browne

Waterford LGFA announced this morning that a new facility is being built in Dungarvan; an 11-acre site secured beside the stunning Déise Greenway after six years of work behind the scenes.

The news comes as work continues on Armagh ladies’ field of dreams at McKeever Park in Killeen.

“It seems crazy. It’s 2018 and we’re the only ladies county team in Ireland to have that,” as Orchard chairperson Sinéad Reel told The42 a little over two years ago, when they became the first inter-county side in Ireland to have a base dedicated solely to ladies football. Cork’s camogie grounds in Castle Road, Mahon, opened in 2012.

Ultimately, the GAA own inter-county facilities across the country, and this often causes issues due to the fact that ladies football and camogie are governed by separate organisations. This was clearly seen in December’s All-Ireland semi-final debacle.

Plenty of fundraising has been completed in Waterford since the idea was born in 2015, and the hope is that it will serve players in the county for future generations.

Work on the field is expected to commence by the summer, and the facility will consist of a state-of-the-art pitch with a pitchside spectator stand, changing rooms, coach and car park and a full six lane running track around the perimeter of the pitch.

The facility will be available for all county and club teams across all grades in Waterford LGFA, along with the wider community both locally and nationally.

“It will mean that county players will no longer have to travel to different GAA fields around the county, not knowing where their next training session will be on a weekly and even daily basis,” a statement reads, with funding fully planned and works expected to be completed by the spring of 2023.

Edel Curry, secretary of Waterford LGFA’s field development sub-committee said

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“It is the intention of the Waterford Ladies Gaelic Football Association to provide a multifunctional playing and facilities development in what is a strategic location in the county,” Edel Curry, secretary of the field sub-committee, said.

“We firmly believe that it will be a key driver for the greater development of the entire area in terms of sporting, social and economic advancement. Our project will greatly enhance the participation of all age categories in our sport and look forward to its immediate commencement.

“The youngsters who will benefit from this development will be our stars of the future and hopefully bring continued All-Ireland glory.”

“We are so proud of this achievement and thankful to everyone who contributed to what will be an amazing state of the art facility,” chairperson of Waterford LGFA John Frewen added, with two former county stars echoing their words.

31 AG8I1431 Pictured at the new Waterford LGFA site are young players Ellie O'Connor and Elsie May Shaw with sisters and Waterford players Aoife and Emma Murray. Source: Patrick Browne

“It is a huge testament to the progressive vision and commitment of Waterford LGFA members, supporters and administrators,” Michelle Ryan, who announced her retirement last year, noted.

“This will be a very valuable asset to Waterford LGFA moving forward as it will create a much-needed base that we can call our own. 

Four-time All-Star Mary O’Donnell added: “It’s fantastic to see the Waterford LGFA are in a great position to finally achieve the dreams of past and present players in owning their own ladies Gaelic football pitch.”

You can read the statement in full here.

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