New Mayo GAA president makes Centre of Excellence proposal

THE new president of Mayo GAA has thrown down a gauntlet by suggesting the Green and Red could come to an agreement with the Connacht GAA Council regarding use of their Centre of Excellence in Bekan.

The Air Dome – which will be officially opened next Sunday (December 12) – at the Centre of Excellence was the venue for last Sunday's Mayo GAA Convention and after being elected president, Mick Higgins congratulated the Connacht GAA Council, and particularly secretary John Prenty, for the impressive development in east Mayo, adding: “I wonder could it be put to other use, now that the Lough Lannagh project has been shelved?

"Perhaps Mayo could use the facilities in agreement with the Connacht GAA Council. I'm just throwing it out there.”

Mayo GAA's proposed development at Lough Lannagh, Castlebar, was rejected following an environmental impact study carried out by Mayo County Council which outlined that the site of the proposed pitches is in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the area is also prone to flooding.

The original proposal was for up to four or five pitches with dressing rooms but following the environmental impact study, the project was downgraded to two pitches situated 250m apart with no space for dressing rooms.

The site was consequently deemed unsuitable for Mayo GAA's needs but secretary Dermot Butler, in his annual report, said the concept of a centre of excellence is 'still very much on the agenda' and will be revisited in the near future, with a report on the organisation's requirement for pitches to meet future needs, and their locations, expected to be completed early in the new year.

“Irrespective of what decision is arrived at, Mayo County Board has already agreed that the development(s) must be affordable, underpinned by solid, sustainable funding foundations and does not impose any additional financial burden on clubs,” said assistant treasurer Michael Diskin.