EXTENSIVE work on the playing surface at MacHale Park in Castlebar will see the venue closed for all games until early next year — with the project set to begin once the Mayo senior footballers have played their last competitive match at the venue later this summer.
A spokesperson for Mayo GAA confirmed to The Mayo News last night (Tuesday) that no work on the MacHale Park pitch would commence until after Mayo had completed their 2021 National League and championship programmes in Castlebar.
Mayo GAA Board assistant treasurer Michael Diskin — who is overseeing the pitch resurfacing at the county ground — told last week’s online County Board meeting that he was ‘hoping’ that the works would be completed in time for the start of next year’s National League in February.
‘The worse-case scenario’ he said, would be that the pitch would re-open in April 2022.
MacHale Park is not expected to be available to host any club championship games this year, meaning that all County Finals will have to be played at other venues around the county.
Last week’s discussion around the planned work for MacHale Park began following a question from Ardnaree Sarsfields delegate, Johnny O’Malley (“Is there an update on the cost of resurfacing MacHale Park?”) which was asked under ‘AOB’.
“We finalised the spec for the MacHale Park job in early January and we sent it out for tenders. We’ve got the tenders back [from four companies] and we’re probably a week or ten days from having those finalised,” replied Michael Diskin, who went on to explain some of the work that will be done during the initial stages of the project.
This will include ‘putting in more of the lateral drains right across the pitch’, ‘lengthening the pitch by five metres at the Davitt House end’, ‘putting up new ball nets at that end as well’, ‘and putting 1,000 tons of Wexford sand across the whole pitch before reseeding it down’.
“I suppose the question Johnny [O’Malley] asked is the real pertinent question, but I would just like to defer from maybe giving you a straight answer to that question, Johnny, because we are just in the middle of evaluating the tenders,” continued the Assistant Treasurer.
“And it would be unfair if we let out what the cost is likely to be.”
“It’s going to be a fixed price contract, but I really can’t answer your question, it’s very sensitive information,” added Diskin. “We haven’t finalised our decision yet.
“We’ll certainly have it for the next meeting, if not before then,” explained the Castlebar Mitchels clubman.
“Our plan is to get that work done, hopefully, by mid summer. But things are very fluid at the moment in relation to the football season.
“We’d like to have the work done by mid-summer or by the latest August 1.
“But the earlier we get it done, the earlier we’d be able to get back on the pitch for next year. “But we’re talking really about having all of the latter stages of the club matches being transferred out of MacHale Park this year.
“This is the year that we felt this should go ahead,” he continued.
“We’d be hoping to be back there, hopefully, for the National League next year when it restarts in February. But worst case scenario, we’d be able to go back there in April of next year. But the quicker we can get the work done before July 1, the quicker we can get back on it. Because a month of growing grass in summer is better to us than a month in the Autumn or early winter.
“We’re happy that the tender process worked well and the prices came in very close together, and Mayo County Board are going to get value for money,” he concluded.
The discussion was brought to a close by Johnny O’Malley from Ardnaree, who said: “I look forward to hearing the price at the next meeting.”