Munster Council aid for Dr Morris Park development is vital, convention told

There was much criticism at the County GAA Convention of the Munster Council’s failure to support Dr Morris Park financially during 2011 with a third pitch having been added to the Centre of Excellence.

There was much criticism at the County GAA Convention of the Munster Council’s failure to support Dr Morris Park financially during 2011 with a third pitch having been added to the Centre of Excellence.

Central Council representative John Costigan, commenting on Secretary Tim Floyd’s report, said that he hoped that on “mature reflection” Munster Council might see their way towards providing finance for the Thurles facility in 2012.

“I believe this is vital in order to make Dr Morris Park a Centre of Excellence,” the JK Brackens man said.

Munster Council Treasurer, Michael Fitzgerald, attended Convention and addressed delegates. He had handed out €110,00 in development grant cheques on the night to the clubs of Tipperary and said that he hoped that Munster Council could continue to do the same in the years to come.

In relation to Dr Morris Park, he noted the comments of delegates and said that up to now, provincial councils were unable to provide funding for Centres of Excellence. However, he hoped that this issue could now be re-examined and he described Dr Morris Park as being a “unique development and a fabulous facility for Tipperary and for Munster.”

Former Chairman of the Board, Con Hogan referred to Dr Morris Park as being a very positive development for the County Board with the provision of the third field having materialised during the course of the year, and now being “virtually debt free”.

However, Secretary Tim Floyd in his report to Convention said that development must continue in Morris Park with the installation of floodlights a priority.

“Installation of floodlights is now a priority along with upgrading existing lights in the other two fields. This will require a €400k investment and we will receive infrastructural funding from Croke Park but that is only after we produce receipts to show the work is complete. We have just launched a sponsorship prospectus inviting patrons to support our development in return for naming rights, public acknowledgements etc.

“Our strategic plan shows a major two and a half million five year capital development plan for Dr. Morris Pk which is aspirational but a vision and focus for the next few years. We must be optimistic and a GAA Centre of Excellence in the heart of the Premier County must be our aim.

“Much of our recent cash flow problems arose from the Dr. Morris Park third field project. We spent €1.6 million on the purchase and development in 2009 and 2010 and received €1 million from the Croke Parks Infrastructural fund. The remaining €600k was paid from our own resources including a €300k draw reserve. Efforts to secure grant aid from Munster Council have failed and this is most disappointing. In the 2011 current allocation, 164 Munster clubs benefited from grants totalling over €900,000. It is incredible that our own Provincial Council do not see it fit to assist us at a time when we are in desperate need to complete the project,” Tim Floyd said.