Belfast Telegraph

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Derry home in on progress

By John Campbell

The Celtic Park venue in Derry is to be transformed next year.

The construction of a new covered stand and the installation of high specification lighting is scheduled to commence shortly which will help bring the ground up among the best in the country.

The Ulster Council will underwrite all costs involved in the lighting installation while the stand, costing £1.2 million, will be mainly funded by grants form The Sports Council of Northern Ireland, The Ulster Council and Central Council.

At Owenbeg, the county training complex outside Dungiven, plans to provide a state-of-the-art sand carpet pitch, complete with covered stand and high specification lighting are at an advanced stage.

This is part of a total investment of £3.5 million in the future of Derry's young teams.

"We have applied for grant aid from The Sports Council of Northern Ireland and are expecting a positive decision early in the New Year," revealed county chairman Seamus McCloy.

A strategic plan, covering all activities of the GAA in Derry, has been just completed and implementation of this plan in the next five years is viewed as a huge challenge for everyone involved in the administration of the Association within the county.

"Considerable funds have been raised within the county by Club Derry. Further enlargement of membership will allow more to be done in the years ahead. Many fund-raising events are planned and we appeal for support," added McCloy.

A seasonal boost has arrived with a new three-year deal having been struck with Derry's two main sponsors Sperrin Galvanisers and O'Neills.

A Games Development Officer has been employed in partnership with Derry City Council and discussions are being held with with Magherafelt, Limavady, Coleraine and Cookstown Councils to secure four additional coaches.

"We are on solid foundations but we must push on in pursuit of further success," says McCloy.

Belfast Telegraph


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