THE Training Centre in Convoy remains the number one priority for Sean Dunnion in his final year as Chairman of Donegal GAA.
In his address to delegates earlier today, Mr Dunnion note that ‘very significant progress’ has been made in the past 12 months on the Clubhouse and Dressing Rooms.
“Plans for our new building will be submitted for planning permission in the next couple of weeks. Subject to no major delays being encountered in the planning process, we would certainly anticipate that construction of the building will commence in the third quarter of nest year with a completion date obefore the end of 2018,” he said.
This phase of development will cost in the region of €1.5 million for the building.
“We are at Stage 4 of that Governance Plan now with a key milestone ahead of us in March/April where County Committee will be asked to approve the detailed design and associated construction cost. This decision will be made only in conjunction with the presentation of a comprehensive Financial Plan of how we intend to pay for this key piece of infrastructure at the Training Centre,” he added.
Fundraising will start in the new year.
“We have accepted an invitation from the New York County Board for the Senior Football Team to travel to play New York in two matches on Thursday April 13th and Saturday April 15th in Gaelic Park. This provides is with a great opportunity to do some major fundraising during the 6-day visit, make some new contacts and build the relationships further we already have forged with contacts in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. The primary element of the fundraising will take place on Friday April 14th with a golf classic during the day followed by a reception and auction in the evening. Other smaller events, a fundraising draw, meetings and presentations to business people are currently being discussed with the New York County Board and Donegal New York GAA Club and further details will be announced early in the New Year,” he said.
Th chairman said that he was also determined to progress the ongoing problems relating to Club Catchment Areas.
“Since the “Attachment to First Club” bye-law was passed at last year’s Convention, progress has been slow on defining our Catchment Areas. Work commenced on the catchment areas in September and I am very encouraged to report that we will have our first 5 – 6 catchment areas for approval by County Committee at the January meeting. I want to acknowledge the clubs in the North West who engaged extremely well and very constructively with the facilitators to get to this point where their catchment areas will actually be enshrined in rule for the very first time.
“It is hoped then to bring forward the club catchment areas in Inishowen to the February meeting for approval. The process will begin with clubs in the Eastern Division in early January and then following on to the South and South West divisions.
“It is an aspiration for me to have all 40 club catchment areas defined and approved in advance of me vacating this position this day next year but I am fully aware this won’t be possible without great co-operation and indeed very significant compromise by some Clubs when the facilitators start engaging with you. Leadership will be required in every club in the next 12 months for this issue to be laid to rest once and for all. I would appeal to the Clubs again today to start arranging meetings with any neighbouring clubs that you feel that you have an issue with concerning your catchment areas. This is the only way forward for Clubs to agree the catchment areas locally, filter the agreements back through the facilitators who will then present them to County Committee for approval. I don’t think any Club will want to be in the situation at some point in the future where County Committee will be asked to determine a boundary between Clubs,” he said.
The Four Masters clubman also used his address to recognise the contribution of the outgoing County Children’s Officer, Mick Mc Grath for the progress we have made as a county over the past five years.
“As Mick steps away today, I must acknowledge his contribution at County Management level over many years. Mick has been a member of the County Management Committee for 26 of the past 28 years and that is a massive voluntary contribution by any stretch of the imagination so I hope his tremendous experience and skills can still be tapped into by us all in the years ahead.
“I must also take this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of the outgoing County Coaching Officer, Anthony Harkin over his 5-year term. Anthony has overseen firstly the setup of the development squad system in both football and hurling in the county and secondly the continued improvement and evolution of the structure year-on-year. The success of our Minor, Under 17 and Under 16 football teams in recent years hasn’t been by accident but has been built on a solid structure and excellent coaches that have been recruited into the system. Great progress has also been made at underage hurling level during his tenure so Anthony can be proud of his contribution to Coaching and Games in the county for the past 5 years and for many other years before that as well,” he said.
Pat Conaghan also completed his 5-year term as Representative to Ulster Council yesterday.
“Pat has given tremendous service to the Association both at County and Provincial level over his lifetime. Pat has steadfastly represented his county at Ulster Council for the past 5 years often when he knew he was facing a losing battle. However, he still fought the battle for Donegal and is widely respected at Provincial level. His experience was also invaluable at the County Management table having served as County Chairman back in 1997 & 1998 as well as holding other positions and serving on numerous committees so I want to wish him well for the future when he steps down from his position at Ulster Convention at the end of January.,” he said.
The chairman also paid tribute to the various sub-committees, referees, our players, managers, coaches, mentors, medical personnel, sponsors and all the volunteers who helped out in any way in the last twelve months.
Last weekend’s comfortable 4-10 to 0-1 win against Carndonagh in Inishowen, clinched the Division 4 League title for Convoy.