Planning approved for new sports centre in Oranmore

Bernadette Prendergast Head of News Galway Bay FM, Declan Varley Group Editor Galway Advertiser, Liz McConnell NUI Galway and Grainne McConnell, Ballinrobe at the official opening of the Galway International Arts Festival hosted by the Galmont Hotel, on Monday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Bernadette Prendergast Head of News Galway Bay FM, Declan Varley Group Editor Galway Advertiser, Liz McConnell NUI Galway and Grainne McConnell, Ballinrobe at the official opening of the Galway International Arts Festival hosted by the Galmont Hotel, on Monday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

A new sports complex for Oranmore Maree has been given the green light by the Galway County Council.

Based in Renville Park, the sports centre plans to serve the sporting needs of the Oranmore and Maree communities with a number of all-weather and full size pitches.

Permission has been granted by Galway County Council for Renville Sports & Community Grounds to be developed for the benefit of the area’s GAA clubs, comprising Oranmore-Maree GAA Club, Oranmore-Maree Camogie Club and Naomh Mhuire Ladies Football Club, and the wider community.

Renville Sports & Community Ground’s management committee chairperson Sean Kinsella describes the planning permission as “incredible news for Oranmore-Maree GAA Club”.

“We have overcome one of the greatest hurdles in making this dream for the club come to life. It is a privilege to be involved in the drive to make Renville Sports Grounds a reality. As a committee we have undertaken the vision and implementation of this project on behalf of the club and local community.

“We purchased an initial 24 acres in October 2017, while an additional 10 acres were bought in April this year. This additional land was purchased to facilitate the main pitches being moved further away from houses adjacent to the site and to alleviate concerns raised by residents as best we can.

“We are highly attuned to protecting the integrity of the area and providing managed facilities for use by all members of the community, such as the community facilities area, accessible public toilets with baby changing facilities, lit walking/ running track, children’s playground and car park to further serve Renville Park and graveyard.”

Plans for the Renville Sports & Community Grounds include one 4G full size pitch; two grass full size pitches; one juvenile pitch, three training/warm up areas; changing rooms with shower facilities; ball wall; a community facilities area; secure low level lit community walking/running track; public children’s playground area; preservation of a ringfort as a local heritage and educational site, and a community parking area with accessible public toilets and baby changing facilities which will help further service Renville Park and graveyard.

Oranmore-Maree GAA Club has invested nearly €800,000 in the project to date for the cost of the land and studies related to the planning application. The Renville Project recently submitted an application to Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF ) for the development of phase one of the project, which was one of only seven LSSIF applications supported by Croke Park and the only one west of the Shannon. In addition to grants, it is anticipated the development will be paid for from local fundraising drives.

“These amenities are greatly needed in the Oranmore-Maree area,” says Sean Kinsella. “There has been a huge population growth in recent years within the area. This has led to Oranmore-Maree GAA Club operating at beyond maximum capacity with more than 71 GAA teams at present using the local community sporting facilities.

“With more than 2,300 pupils attending school in Oranmore and Maree every day, and with a combined membership of nearly 1,200 people in the club, the vision for Renville arose out of an urgent need to develop new sporting facilities to cater for the rapidly expanding playing numbers from juvenile to adult level.”

It is believed future development of some 400 homes within the Oranmore village area will add more pressure on the existing sporting facilities.

“Over the course of a weekend there are in excess of 500 children training with the club between the four codes. The positive impact of sport and the GAA on our community is profound and far reaching. It helps develop the personal skills of an individual which can be transferred to the workplace and back into communities thus helping to create a bright future for our youth and the area as a whole.

“This year has already held two milestones for Oranmore-Maree GAA Club with three clubs joining as one, and Oranmore-Maree senior hurling team achieving an historic All-Ireland Intermediate Club win.”

Renville Sports & Community Grounds’ management committee development officer, Derek Cullinane, says Oranmore-Maree GAA has been at the heart of the community for more than 50 years.

“It is imperative we continue to provide these opportunities for all community members as existing facilities do not cater for the current need. Full scale all-weather playing and training facilities are needed immediately to alleviate the already overstretched demand.

“As a former player with Oranmore-Maree and now a parent of children playing with the three club teams, I have seen first-hand the positive influence Gaelic games have on our local community. Renville Sports and Community Grounds will greatly enhance the quality of life within the Oranmore Maree community, not only with the planned playing facilities, but also with the community areas included in the plans for the development.”

It is anticipated that the development will be paid for through local fundraising drives and potential qualification for grants. The club has set up a fundraising campaign, Renville Sports & Community Grounds GoFundMe page, www.gofundme.com/renville-sports-ground-project

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