A FIGURE of €1.2m will be needed to bring Cusack Park up to an acceptable standard as the flagship playing headquarters of Clare GAA, The Clare People has learned this week.
County Board chairman Michael McDonagh in pointing out that “the job has to be done and hopefully it will be done” said that €1.2m would be enough to secure the future of Cusack Park and restore its status as a top flight county ground.
“It’s up to the clubs to decide what we want to do with Cusack Park, but from plans that have been drawn up and costed I think that €1.2m would be enough to complete the job to an acceptable standard.
“To finish the Caherlohan project you are looking at a figure of about €200,000 and on top of that then you have €1.2m for Cusack Park, so you would have the whole lot done for under €1.5m,” he added.
This new drive to re-develop Cusack Park comes in the wake of the seat of Clare GAA being described as “a kip” on national radio by an official purporting to be from the Kilkenny County Board after the National League game between Clare and Kilkenny on February 16.
At the Clare County Convention last December, county board secretary Pat Fitzgerald told delegates that redevelopment work at Cusack Park should be put second in importance to the completion of the board’s Centre of Excellence at Caherlohan.
“I think we have to prioritise Caherlohan ahead of Cusack Park,” he said. “That’s my opinion, but ultimately it is you the clubs of Clare who will be the final arbiters.
“If resources are made available for continued improvement work at Cusack Park, it will happen at expense of our centre of training excellence at Caherlohan where we’ve invested over €3m,” he warned.
Mr Fitzgerald made these comments despite an admission that a range of new of upgrading works were urgently required in Cusack Park, chief among these being remedial work on the pitch “to avoid the embarrassment of the county grounds not being able to host games”.
It was also pointed out at Convention that the roof of the covered stand needed to be replaced, the PA system needed to be overhauled, while 12 new turnstiles needed to be installed at the town end of the field.
“I must caution that what we will be able to undertake and what we need to do are two different propositions,” warned Fitzgerald, hinting at a lack of funds being available for key infrastructural work.
However, board chairman Michael McDonagh now says that “the work has to go ahead” and added that “if it comes to taking out a ten-year loan to fund the development that’s what we’ll have to look into doing. The important thing is that it gets done”.

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