Development of Club Facilities

Development of Club Facilities

Soon after the establishment of Tubber G.A.A. Club in April of 1979 the Club set about developing some facilities for the area.With the permission of Reverend Doctor Hugh Dunne P.P., Tubber G.A.A. took over responsibility for the maintenance and organisation of Tubber Hall which had fallen into some disrepair over time.The insurance and ESB bills were to be looked after by the G.A.A. Club. During 1979 a lot of work was put into making it more respectable and over a six week period a new electrical wiring system was installed.The repairing and hanging of doors took place. Plastering and painting was also done. New curtains were made and hung at the stage area. Two gas heaters were purchased by the Club to heat the hall. The Club moved into a field free gratis of Mary Duff.This had been previously used before as a football field but which now had no resemblance of one. A new set of goalposts were purchased from the Forestry Department. These were erected at the new football field which was situated beside the graveyard on the Major's road.This field was to become known as Duff's. This was where the Club trained and played their home games from the first of April 1979, when the first training session took place, until 1987 when the new pitch came on stream.

In March 1981 the Club was anxious to organise a long-term lease of the hall and to take over management of the hall.The Club was anxious to put running water into the hall, build toilets and a meeting room and to expand the stage area. They were pressing the Meath Diocesan Trust for a favourable response to their needs. Around the same time the Club made an application to the Land Commission for a pitch in the Flynn estate which was due to be divided at this time.

In relation to the hall, a meeting was held on 19 May 1981 with Doctor Hugh Dunne and Revered Father Smith representing the Meath Diocesan Trust. Joe Grennan, Michael Kinahan, Michael Molloy of the Burrow and Jim Kinahan represented Tubber G.A.A. It was stated at the meeting by the Meath Diocesan Trust that the hall was too near the church to hand over the control to any outside body and the only agreement would be a five year lease. The Club would have to vacate the building for one day between each lease and on 25 May 1981 the Club decided to organise a meeting between various groups in the community that were using the hall at this time and maybe set up a hall committee.

Resting their shovels from digging shores are Pat Doolan, J.J. Guinan and John Moran

They also considered the idea of enlisting the help of FÁS who were helping out on major renovations and construction of new community centres in the surrounding areas at this time. At the AGM held on 14 December 1981 it was suggested that the Club should start thinking about buying a field of their own and the Club should start fundraising to build up a fund of money for this purpose.A finance committee was put into place for the purpose of raising money and after some enquiries at a meeting held on the 1 March 1982 Frank Egan brought it to the Clubs attention that Richard Flynn of Tubber was willing to offer to sell to the Club the field known locally as the Ewe Park and would be in contact with the Club through Paul Dunican auctioneers, Kilbeggan. It was agreed that the Club should consider the offer and try to negotiate a suitable price. Joe Grennan, Jim Kinahan and Frank Egan were appointed to act for the Club when negotiations began. The Club also noted and drew attention to the fact that a heavy KV ESB line crossed the field near the lower end and contact was made with the ESB to find out the position with regard to moving this wire.

A price of £8,500 was agreed for the field and a novel way of getting this money together quickly was used. Four people gave a loan of £250 each to the Club. Approximately 12 people gave a loan of £100 each and approx. 16 people gave a loan of £50 each and various other amounts were donated to the Club.A draw which the finance committee had run in March 1982 raised £2,400 and a calf donated to the club through Frank Egan was raffled and raised £505.The balance of the price came from Club funds and a deposit of £2,125 was paid in May 1982 and the balance was paid over to Richard Flynn solicitors on the 28 May 1982. It was noted at the time that this was only to be paid to Richard Flynn when he removed two horses and one ass from the field; though some people might say the ass never left the field! Five trustees were assigned to the property, Joe Grennan, Frank Egan, John Moran, Oliver McManus and Joe Doolan.The first training session took place on this field in August 1982 even though no work had been carried out on it yet. In 1983 5 bags of fertiliser were spread on the field. It was kept for hay which was cut and auctioned off to local farmers. Frank Egan acted as auctioneer with John Moran cutting the meadow, Cormac Kelly turning and rowing it and Frank Egan baling it. All this work was carried out free of charge. In June 1984 levels were taken and the design of a new pitch was organised by Liam Dunne. Five tenders were received for the carrying out of this work and the contract was agreed with Nolan Plant Hire, Kilbeggan at a fee of £5,500.Work was carried out on and off over the winter of 1984/1985 and throughout 1985 with 1985 being a particularly wet year. In June 1985 the Club were the beneficiaries of two functions ran in the U.S.A. by Tommy McManus and Seán Egan from the Parish which raised $1,150 for the Club.

In March 1986 concern was expressed to the committee and by the committee as to the slow nature of the work on the field. Joe Grennan, John Moran and T.J. Kelly were sent to see Nolan Plant Hire and they were assured that the work would be finished by May of that year. As the ground was setting very hard due to the long duration of the levelling of the field it became obvious that it would need ripping to create soakage and some more drainage work would need to be carried out on the field for this to be a success. It was decided after some consultation to get the original work that was priced finished first. But the Club was then informed by Nolan Plant Hire that they would not return to the field until after 15 July at the earliest. After several committee meetings and meetings with Nolan Plant Hire it was agreed on the 24 of June 1986 between the parties to terminate the contract and a price was later agreed with Killeen Plant Hire, Portlaoise to finish the work. It was agreed that each section of work would be priced separately and by the 16 September it was getting near the reseeding stage and several people spent time early in the morning or after work in the evening picking stones off the field. Even the school children under the supervision of their teachers were given the treat of picking stones during school time.While all this time the junior football team were training hard for their upcoming Junior Final on the 12 October 1986. The field was reseeded on the 1 October 1986.

By December 1986 plans were being drawn up for dressing rooms while at the same time a very successful Lord Mayor campaign was carried out by the Club which raised over £30,000. On the 4 May 1987 plans were agreed by the committee to proceed to apply for planning permission for the dressing rooms. Tenders were sought for their construction and in August 1987 a price of Â£23,000 was agreed with Sean O'Farrell builders, Rosemount for this work. Work started on the 29 October 1987. This continued over the winter of 1987.The front and boundary wall was built by John Boland in June 1988. The club had the official opening of the pitch and dressing rooms in May 1989. During 1989 Tom Nestor and Pat Egan of Tinnamuck were employed by the Club under the social employment Fás scheme and they erected the railing around the field, a stand for spectators, dugouts and scoreboard.

During 1988 the Club grounds were vested with the G.A.A. In June 1991 an application for Leinster Council grant aid was submitted to the Leinster Council from whom the Club was to receive £12,000 in grant aid for the purchase of the field, development of the grounds and building of dressing rooms.

During this time the Club was greatly helped by two National Lottery grants, one towards the dressing rooms and a small grant towards the boundary wall.

On 5 November 1991 the club hosted the Junior Football Final between Ferbane and Mucklagh.This was won by Mucklagh. In June 1992 efforts were intensified with the ESB to relocate the ESB line which crossed the field at the lower end and the cost of this was to be paid by the G.A.A.'s Supporters Club under the Chairmanship of Benny Moran along with Betty Moran, Dympna Murray and Joe Grennan who were running weekly progressive 25 card games to raise money to help out the Club at this time.

And in 1993 the line was rerouted around the field at a cost to the Club.

In 1997 the local pub, the Cat and Bagpipes was closed for a period and some discussion took place between the Club and owners of the premises about their future plans for it. To everyone's relief and delight it reopened in December 1999 and has since been the focal point of many joyous occasions and celebrations. Over the years the Club has had the benefit of being part of a Community Employment Scheme and under this scheme Tom Naughton has kept the grounds in tip top state. In 1997 it was decided to put up lights around the pitch and 6 lights were erected at the time and the lighting of a pitch at that time was considered a major advancement and allowed a more flexible timetable for training, indeed at the time there was a big demand from other local Clubs for the use of the field for training particularly late in the year if they were still involved in championships.

In early 2001 it was decided to discuss plans for expansion of the existing dressing rooms and what this building should consist of. It was decided that this extension would be a multi-purpose building which would contain additional dressing rooms, kitchen facilities and a place where the Club and local organisations could hold meetings and activities. By April 2001 the plans were completed and submitted to the County Council for planning permission.These plans were also submitted to the National Lottery with application for funding from which the Club was to receive an allocation of £35,000. In late 2001 tenders were invited for this building and a price of £75,000 was agreed with David Sheridan Construction for the building of the main structure with the plumbing and tiling and painting etc not included in this price, the total cost of new extension and tarmaced yard would be Â£132,000.Also at this time another application to the National Lottery was made for ball stoppers and the tarmac of the yard. This application was later successful and €35,000 was allocated to the Club.A fundraising weekend for the June bank holiday was arranged with a Barbeque on Friday night and an Auction on the Sunday afternoon. This fundraising weekend made €23,000 for the Club with €12,000 from the Barbeque and €11,000 from the Auction.

When the main structure of the extension to the building was completed a lot of local people gave their time to put the finishing touches to the building. Many cups of tea and pots of soup were supplied by the wonderful ladies of the Parish who all volunteered their services.These included the building of the fireplace by Gerry North and the painting, inside and outside by many volunteers.Volunteers assisted in the preparation of the floors for tiling and in the laying down of the wooden floors. Indeed many late nights were spent getting the extension completed. Also some ground work was done in the car park with the laying of water channels. At this time the ball stoppers were erected at one end of the field with labour being supplied voluntarily. Also at this time the sponsor a block fundraising campaign was held.

In September 2002 agreement was made with Ready-mix Tullamore for the tarmac of the car park.The opening of the new extension was fixed for the 24 November 2002 with the final of the Pat Colgan Tournament being played on the same day. The opening was attended by a large crowd and the official opening was performed by Brendan Ward who was Chairman of Offaly County Board at this time. It was blessed by Father Michael Walsh, P.P., Tubber and Reverend Gerald Field, Church of Ireland.

In January 2003 the club received the AIB Offaly Club of the Year award. The Club facilities were used extensively during the Offaly County Fleadh which was held in Tubber in May 2003.The Club was later to receive €5,500 grant from Leinster Council for this work carried out. Then on the 21 April 2004 it was decided to investigate the possibility of putting up state-of-the-art floodlighting and a committee was put together to organise same and soon afterwards it was agreed to go ahead with it and an application to the National Lottery was made from whom we were to receive a €40,000 grant later. During 2004 a contract for the new lights was signed with Musco Lighting with the Club erecting the power house organising the 3 phase power from the ESB and putting down the ducting throughout the field through which the power cables would pass. The ducting was put down over the Christmas period of 2004.

An Auction was held in October 2004 from which €15,000 was raised and in September 2005 the lights were installed by Musco and arrangements were underway to mark the official switching on of them with a tournament match between Offaly and Westmeath in February 2006.The total cost of the lights was around €90,000 not including the voluntary help which was given by numerous people.

In 2007 it was decided that because of the heavy use of the pitch especially during spring time the Club would investigate the possibility of building a gym to lessen the load on the pitch and after some research, plans were drawn up for same, planning permission applied for; a National Lottery application submitted and the site for it was purchased. In September 2008 the contract was given to S & F Construction to build it and by September 2009 the building was completed, the fitting out of it completed and is now in use by the local community. All this work has taken much planning and hard work but the end results has justified this hard work with the fine facilities which the club now possesses.