Laois GAA saw their land in Dooary, Ballyroan sell for €385,000 at auction last Friday afternoon, as they offloaded the site for what was once supposed to be the county’s Centre of Excellence.
The land was originally purchased for somewhere in the region of €800,000 back in 2008, with money Laois GAA received from the sale of land for the Parkside development four years earlier. It means Laois GAA have taken a loss of over €400,000 on the land, which had been rented out for agricultural use in recent years.
When the purchase went through back in 2008, then Laois GAA Chairman Brian Allen outlined plans to develop five playing pitches, including one all-weather pitch, dressing rooms, a gym and ball-wall.
Despite preliminary works beginning on the land, it is believed issues with drainage saw the projected costs of developing the land spiral. When Portlaoise GAA’s old grounds, beside O’Moore Park, then became available, Laois GAA moved to secure that property, and will now direct the funds from this sale into that project.
Speaking to the Leinster Express yesterday, Laois GAA Chairman Gerry Kavanagh admitted he was happy with the price the land sold for. “It sold at public auction last Friday for €385,000, which worked out at €11,000 per acre, which is quite good.
“There was a plan in place (for development) but that was under a different regime and different circumstances.”
While the land was believed to be unsuitable for the developments Laois had planned, Kavanagh revealed that it was opportunities elsewhere behind Laois’ reasons not to develop the land.
“The problems were not insurmountable. It was a very valuable piece of property, there were 35 acres there and it would have been a fine complex. Subsequent to the purchase, other developments became available, such as Fr Browne Avenue.”
Mr Kavanagh also confirmed that the money from the sale will go directly towards the redevelopment of Fr Browne Avenue.
“Every euro will go into it. We are at a very advanced stage in the planning and design, and the tenders for the first stage, the development of the pitches, are due this evening (Monday.)”
Laois’ GAA’s bid to develop a centre of excellence has been an arduous battle, beginning with the purchase of the land in Ballyroan back in 2008. They also purchased the mining facility in Galmoy for €10, but ultimately opted not to develop that project.
The land beside O’Moore Park was purchased with help from the GAA and Leinster GAA, and Laois now hope to set it up as the permanent training base for all teams.