Local GAA club needs facilities

By Laura Lyne

CALLS to provide St Kevin's/Kilian’s GAA Club in Kilnamanagh and Kingswood with changing facilities have been made, following a meeting with the club and local politicians.

A large crowd of club members met with Sinn Fein councillor Cora McCann on Saturday to discuss the facilities, which the club have been chasing for 30 years.

St Kevins Killians June 2016

Club coach Jon Fitzpatrick spoke to The Echo about the meeting, and the club's pressing need for adequate changing facilities.
He told The Echo: “We have a 20 ft storage container, with no dressing rooms and a growing academy of 50 to 60 kids, both boys and girls.

“We're trying to get a permanent home for the club. We're not looking for anything over the top, we don't want to put ourselves in that position where we cannot afford to maintain it.

“Right now, the club doesn't even have a toilet that it can use. That makes it very awkward for us to run any events.

“This is 30 years of frustration for the club and its members. There have been different committee members throughout the years who have managed to either collect the funds or get planning permission for the development but have not managed to get both.

“We don't want to end up back in that same position. We're losing members because of this.”

The club also hopes to work with the residents of Kilnamanagh in developing the facilities, with the residents looking to find a suitable site for the development of a play space within the community.

Jon said: “We hope to work together with the resident's association on this as they are also looking at a site for a play space.

“If we work in conjunction with them, hopefully we can get a site quicker for both of us, that we could help to look after.
“There has been frustration from locals in the past, but we want to see how we can work with everyone and work together on a joint venture.

“We know it's not going to happen overnight, but we hope now we can get a site so we can start planning for it.”

Cllr Cora McCann has been working with St Kevin's/Kilians in trying to find a suitable site for the facilities.

She told The Echo: “Myself, Lynn Boylan MEP and Cllr Enda Fanning met with club chairperson Ciaran Connolly and coaches Jonathon Fitzpatrick and Sean Gillian to discuss the lack of facilities for their juvenile section and the negative impact this is having on the club.

“Following a visit to the club on Saturday morning I fully support what they are trying to achieve. There were roughly 40 children out on the pitch training enjoying themselves.

“The sheer commitment and passion Ciaran, Sean and Jonathon have for their club is very evident and I commit to supporting them in any way I can in the future.”

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