Laois GAA are set to enter negotiations with Portlaoise GAA club to lease their old grounds on Fr Browne Avenue, beside O’Moore Park, for the rest of this year.
Portlaoise agreed to meet with the Laois County Board after the idea of renting out the grounds to Laois GAA received a favourable response from club members at their AGM on Sunday.
The grounds have been used sparingly in recent years since Portlaoise set up their new facilties and pitches in Rathleague.
Laois GAA are believed to be keen to keep a GAA presence in the grounds, and have moved quickly to secure a lease which would see county teams have access to the pitches there for training. Laois GAA may also take control of the car parking facilities there, which would also offer them another source of income, although the details of any lease have yet to be agreed.
The land at Fr Brown Avenue is some of the most sought after GAA real estate in the country, given it’s position beside O’Moore Park, and it remains to be seen what the long-term future of the site holds.
Should a deal go through, which it is believed is highly likely, then it will be another nail in the coffin for the land purchased in Dooary, Ballyroan, by Laois GAA. Having spent in the region of €800,000 at the time, it had been earmarked as the site of a new Centre of Excellence, but has remained undeveloped and, more recently, has been rented out as farm land.
Laois are unlikely to recoup anything close to the purchse price of the land, if and when they decide to sell it. The decommissioning of the mine in Galmoy, which Laois agreed a deal to buy, for just €10 in late 2008, is close to completion also, and a decision on the future of that complex will have to be made in the next month or so.
Elsewhere in Laois GAA news, the senior hurlers will take to the field for the second time in a week this Sunday when they welcome Antrim to Rathdowney for the Walsh Cup Shield.
Antrim lost their opening round game to Carlow last weekend, but will offer Seamas Plunkett and his team a good workout as he continues to finalise his preparations for the opening league game against Kildare on February 24.