St Conleth's Park
Delegates at the November meeting of Kildare GAA Co Board received an update on the redevelopment of St Conleth's Par, from the man driving the project, Padraig McManus.
Padraig needs no introduction at this stage, his work, along with others, in bringing forward the project has been well documented.
And the news on the night just got better.
In fairness Padraig has been in and out of these meetings over the past number of months and rarely, if ever, is the bearer of bad tidings, and long may that continue. And Tuesday night was no exception.
Following a meeting with Croke Park officials some weeks ago when the up-to-date plans were shown to the 'big wigs' the former boss of ESB said his team were very pleased with the response they received.
At present, said Padraig, we are awaiting an announcement from Minister Ross (God protect us from all harm I say quietly to myself) regarding strategic funding for this and many other projects countrywide.
The Design Team have been in Tullamore and Portlaoise looking at their facilities and he (Padraig, not the Minister for Stepaside) was confident that work will begin (April/May) following the completion of the 2019 football and hurling leagues.
Mr McManus gave a break down of the various figures for the project, what it would cost and how they proposed to fund it; they have been in negotiations with the BOI and the AIB, and while no decisions have been finalised, or won't be until the state funding decision is made, he does not envisage any difficulties in that regard.
The reconstruction of the old archway at the Kilcullen Road entrance is included in the redesign, the dressing-
rooms will be bigger than the biggest dressing rooms anywhere outside of Croker and the Kilcullen end (behind the goals) will be upgraded and that will bring the stadium up to a capacity of 15,000, which includes 3,000 seats.
Sure this was like Christmas coming early I say to myself.
And it got even better.
The pitch will be extended, both ways but mostly length ways and with the stand over-shadowing the playing area by some 15m the entire pitch will need to be drained, re-seeded, etc, at a cost of some €240,000.
Various committees, on the funding side of things are working away and a lot of interest is being shown by people with big pockets for the naming rights; advertising on both pitch side and in the VIP area, so overall a huge amount of work has already been undertaken.
Not for the first time Mr McManus emphasised that it is imperative Club Kildare increase membership to 500 and while new members have come on board, it is essential that that magical figure is reached.
It was indeed like Christmas had come early but before the Big Fella with the white beard arrives, word on that government Strategic Funding should be with us and it will be onwards and upwards after that.
Chairman Donnelly, now looking like the cat that had just got the cream, said this was an exciting project, a brilliant project, thanked Padraig and all the various people working behind the scenes for their efforts.
So everyone is happy.
Just waiting on Minister Ross to come forward; final tenders accepted, banks write a fat cheque and we will be on our way to a spanking new stadium.
All positive, no fake news.
Hard to believe.
Who was it said November was a dull, dark and boring month, certainly not in Kildare GAA circles this time around anyway.
Of course when construction work gets under way that will mean that St Conleth's Park will be out of commission which means that after the first quarter or so of 2019 and 2020 a new home will have to be found for Football and Hurling League games; club and of course county finals.
That, promised the chairman, will be decided early in the New Year..
So while Newbridge will be out of bounds we will have to find a new 'Nowhere' but as it will be for just 12 months or so I think we can put up with that inconvenience!
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