THE recent spell of stormy weather that has led to mass postponements of local GAA games has highlighted the Carbery Board’s need to have an all-weather pitch available to play on, says chairman Tom Lyons.
The division’s U21 football championships are running behind schedule following several idle weekends due to the bad weather and unplayable pitches.
It means that Carbery will not meet the county board deadline, as county U21 football quarter-finals are scheduled for the weekend of Saturday, March 28th.
In fact, Carbery chairman Lyons fears a fixture pile-up.
‘The finals will definitely go into April and then we will run into trouble with the county senior and intermediate championships, as well as our own junior championships,’ he pointed out.
The progress of the Cork U20 football team and the county senior footballers also has an impact on Carbery U21 fixtures, as local players are involved with both squads.
This weekend sees the Carbery U21 football championships kick back into life after a dormant few weeks, but some of the scheduled games are dependent on weather and pitches being playable.
The Carbery board has been busy in recent times exploring the option of having a central base in the division that will have an all-weather pitch, and has identified St Mary’s GAA Club’s home grounds in Enniskeane as its number one option.
‘There is no doubt that there should be at least one proper all-weather pitch available to the board within the division at this time of the year,’ Lyons said.
‘We are in serious discussions with a club in the centre of the division to develop their pitch into a top-class all-weather pitch with proper facilities such as flood-lighting and a small covered stand for the spectators.
‘It would be ideal if that pitch could be a 4G artificial pitch which would be playable in all weathers but the cost of such a pitch is prohibitive for a board like ours who would be depending on the clubs of the division to support it financially.
‘Most clubs are struggling to make ends meet financially at the moment and such a project would not go down too well among those clubs. A top-class all-weather grass pitch is within our reach and that is the road we are going down at the moment.
‘If our present plans come to fruition, we should see that pitch available within the next two or three years and, who knows, if the finance did become available from sources such as the Cork County Board, Munster Council, Croke Park, National Lottery, we could well see a 4G pitch become a reality in the not-too-distant future.
‘If there’s anybody out there with a million euro to spare, we would be delighted to hear from them.’