O’Dwyer’s game changer

by Karl Graham

O’DWYERS GAA have struck a deal with Fingal County Council that will see the Balbriggan club move to a new facility at Bremore Regional Park, agreeing to enter into a long-term lease.
The agreement will see O’Dwyers take up residency on the northern boundary of the 100 acre site with the club set to develop a new clubhouse, sports pitch, parking and training areas. A 3G all-weather pitch already exists which O’Dwyers share with Balbriggan FC.
As part of the agreement, the Council will also purchase O’Dwyer’s current facility at Hamlet Lane to provide the community with new housing and better roads.
Fittingly, the announcement comes in the year O’Dwyers are celebrating their centenary – with an official event planned for March 26 – and the club are understandably delighted with the announcement.
“Nothing has started yet, everything is kind of agreed in principle but we are just beside ourselves at the thought of the state of the art facilities we are going to have, hopefully, within three years,” O’Dwyers PRO Linda Howley told the Dublin Gazette.
“Even last year we saw our membership go up by 20% so what we have at the moment is just not going to do it. It doesn’t do us at the moment; we have to go outside and hire other facilities for all our training so the idea that we are going to have everything we need over in Bremore Regional Park is just great.”
Bremore is being developed by Fingal County Council to support and service the outdoor recreational needs of Balbriggan’s young and rapidly growing population. The Council also want to bring more tourism into Balbriggan, with Bremore Castle at the heart of this plan.
“We are literally going to be in the middle of Bremore Regional Park and we are going to be close to the castle. We are going to be much closer to our all-weather pitch so it will be safer for our kids; they are not going to have to cross the road and walk down the lanes. It is just going to make life a lot easier for everybody,” Howley continued.
With Balbriggan typically more associated with soccer, Howley hopes that O’Dwyer’s new facilities will see more people from the area take up GAA.
“I think the fact that our facilities are so old has maybe put people off in the past so once we get a comfortable clubhouse, good training facilities, a proper sports hall, bar facilities it will, hopefully, make GAA more attractive in Balbriggan.
“For the last few years, we have had a part-time games promotional officer going into the schools, whereas from the middle of last year we have made her full-time so already we have seen a huge surge of children come into the club. It is up to us to make sure we have the facilities to keep them.”

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