This report in the Mayo News confirms that work will shortly restart on McHale Park, which will see the protracted redevelopment project finally completed by April this year. As this report makes clear, there are three drivers for making this happen, i.e. Croke Park’s acceptance of the Fundraising and Finance plan put forward by the County Board and the consequent release of funding by Croke Park to enable the remaining work to get going, the negotiations which have taken place with the contractor and others who are owed money on the project, which has resulted in a 33% haircut in the total amount owing and the approval by the County Board and Croke Park of the Cáirde Mhaigheo initiative, which enjoyed a successful launch last Saturday night.
It’s important to note from the first report above that Croke Park has stipulated that all future fundraising for Mayo GAA must come under the Cáirde Mhaigheo banner, which means that all other existing initiatives in this area (such as the long-running supporters’ club, Club Mayo Dublin and the recently-launched London supporters’ effort) will now have to become part of the wider Cáirde Mhaigheo endeavour. What this will mean in practical terms is that everything that’s raised from a fundraising perspective will go into the same pot while everyone who signs up to support the initiative will all be entitled to the same benefits, in terms of the season ticket, entry to lotto draws, discount vouchers and so forth.
When the full extent of the financial crisis facing the County Board was finally revealed back in November, it was obvious that rapid action needed to be taken to avert what could quite easily have mutated into a complete financial catastrophe. While the crisis is far from over and clearly won’t be for some time, it now appears that the kind of action that was urgently required has been taken. Croke Park’s approval for the McHale Park work to be completed can therefore be seen as a significant vote of confidence in the Board’s efforts to take some decisive initial action to deal with the crisis.
It’s also obvious that the Cáirde Mhaigheo initiative will be central to the Board’s effort to pull Mayo GAA clear from this crisis and the strong take-up so far of the new season ticket (with half of the 2012 target of 1,000 tickets already sold) would suggest that a good start has been made in this area too. Much more needs to be done, for sure, before we’re out of the woods but at least a solid start to dealing with the crisis would now appear to have been made.
Back to on-field matters, where James Horan has confirmed to the Mayo News that both Tom Cunniffe and Trevor Mortimer will both miss the early stages of the NFL. That’s no harm, really, as others – including the likes of Eoghan Reilly, Lee Keegan and Colm Boyle – could do with some game time over the next while as we look to deepen the squad in the build-up to this year’s championship.
Finally, Conor Mortimer has been speaking with John Fogarty in the Irish Examiner following his comeback appearance for the county team at Ballyhaunis last Sunday. In this report, Mort gives some insight into what he’s had to do to battle back to fitness following his cruciate operation last February and what he thinks of his chances of making the cut in James Horan’s squad this year. And, no, he has nothing to say on the burning issue of the socks.