Carbery club has never had its own grounds or pitch but work is underway on exciting new plans
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
MUINTIR Bháire GAA Club has never had a place to call home – but all that is about to change.
About one kilometre outside of Durrus, on the eastern end of the village as you head towards Bantry, work has already begun on the club’s new full-sized training pitch.
That is just the start for the ambitious club on the western end of the Carbery division that is intent on providing top-class facilities for its members.
‘In the history of the club we have never had our own pitch and never owned our own grounds,’ explains new chairman, Frank Arundel, who has swapped his football boots laced with gold dust for the administrative side of the game.
‘We’ve only ever had the community field in Durrus and a pitch in Ahakista.
‘We did move to Ahakista in 2005 and we had plans to buy a pitch but we never acquired the land afterwards. After that this property came up in Durrus.’
Muintir Bháire bought 17 acres of land in 2007 – that was still the Celtic Tiger era, remember – for €470,000, a lot of money at the time, but incredibly, the club expects to be debt free at the end of this year.
There was a house on the land and that was sold by the club for €120,000 and in the years since, hard work and community spirit has helped the club chip away at its debt.
‘We borrowed €350,000 from the bank in 2008 and all going well, that will be paid off this year,’ Arundel said.
‘That’s a phenomenal effort by everyone involved and it’s been paid back pretty much within the parish, we haven’t gone outside the parish. We’re very appreciative of the effort from the local community.
‘We set-up a Club 200 draw and we received a fantastic response every year, with 200 people in every year, and we had our first draw recently.’
The training pitch is already starting to take shape and after that, the club hopes to begin work on a state-of-the-art two storey club house that will include a gym upstairs, and also on its main pitch.
‘If we are going to do it, we’ll do it right,’ explained Arundel, one of the club’s finest ever footballers who has retired from the playing side.We want to make sure we have top-class facilities that local people are proud of.
‘We are working on a full-sized training pitch and we hope to get grass seeds out on it in a few weeks, when the weather clears up.
‘Six months of work has already gone into that, our fundraising allowed us to start on the training pitch. All going well that will be up and running – with goalposts – by the end of the summer.’
Muintir Bháire have been using the community field in Durrus – on the opposite end of the village to the new GAA grounds – and while the club has worked well with the community council and the local soccer team that also uses the pitch, it wants a home of its own.
‘As a club we have never had proper facilities that we can be proud of. If you look at the set-ups in a lot of clubs around Carbery, we can’t match them,’ Arundel admitted – but all this is about to change, as the club plans for the future.