Maureen turns the sod on Mohill’s new facilities

The first sod on the new Mohill Park Sports & Leisure Facility was turned last Sunday, signalling the start of a new era for sport in Mohill writes John Connolly

Maureen turns the sod on Mohill’s new facilities

Maureen Lynch turns the sod of the new Mohill Park Sports & Leisure facility on Sunday May 2, with members of the MPSL, Mohill GAA, Athletics and Basketball clubs present Picture: Willie Donnellan

A new era for sports in Mohill started last Sunday at Philly McGuinness when much loved Mohill GAA stalwart Maureen Lynch turned the sod on the new Mohill Park Sports & Leisure Facilities in the town.

The new 3,200 square feet dressing room complex, which will feature two dressing rooms, a gym, a kitchen and meeting rooms, will start to rise from the ground next weekend when site clearing works start with contractor Padraig Bohan moving in on Monday, the estimated €430,000 project hoping to be completed inside 12 months.

To turn the first sod on the project, Mohill Park Sports & Leisure (MPSL) turned to one of their own legends, in a town with it’s fair share of legends, to do the honours as Maureen Lynch turned the sod and also helped launch the vital fundraising draw to help fund the work.

Mohill seems to produce a sort of fanaticism in its citizens, be the late and legendary Packie McGarty or former Leitrim GAA County Board President Teresa Bohan. And Maureen Lynch is not different, her dedication to the club as a fan and official, she is the club’s PRO, knows no bounds.

After she performed the turning of the sod, Maureen said “It was my great privilege to turn the sod for our new dressing rooms. I’ve had many great days with our historic club over 40 years. So I’m really happy to see us getting the building we deserve after years of trying.”

Paying tribute to Maureen, MPSL chairman Padraig McLoughlin said “Maureen Lynch is unique in any club in the country, she never misses a match, from Ladies to underage and she has been there as long as I can remember and we’re just delighted that she is launching the project. We’re so proud to have her there.”

Covid restrictions meant that the turning of the sod was a much more low-key event than what would normally be the case in Mohill but there is no doubt that the commencement of the construction of a 290 square metre two story community building within the grounds of Mohill GAA Park containing changing rooms, recreation /fitness area, meeting room, tea station, plant room and ancillary facilities is a day welcomed by the entire community in Mohill.

Welcoming the start of the work, Brian Smyth, the LEADER program manager, commented “This group has worked very hard to secure €300,000 from the LEADER programme and this involved getting drawing /designs completed, securing planning permission, fundraising for the costs to date, competing a community consolations and project plan and procuring the works / contractor on Etenders.

“Projects of this scale take years to plan and develop and despite disappointments along the way this project will be finished by the end of 2021 and will provide a fine community facility for generations to come. The fundraising drive will also help to ensure it is fully paid for as quickly as possible.”

The development was also welcomed by Erin Britton of Mohill Ladies GFC who said “A huge thank you to the MPSL committee for their commitment and support to get this project over the line. It is fantastic to see the project approved and the sod turned today. These facilities will be enjoyed by the whole community for years to come and the ladies club are very proud to support the project.”

Mohill & District Athletic Club were also delighted to lend their support: “We are so excited to be part of the project at the new Mohill Clubhouse. Mohill Athletics Club are very grateful to have been involved in the new development in the grounds of Mohill clubhouse.”

Mohill GAA Club chairman Seamus Mitchell was also delighted to see the development start: “It is an honour to be chairman of Mohill GAA on the significant occasion of the turning of the sod for the new building in Philly McGuinness park. We are looking forward to the work starting on this new building, it is the beginning of an exciting future that will greatly enhance not only Mohill GAA Club but also benefit the community in Mohill.”

Gerry Kilrane, speaking on behalf of Mohill GAA Club Bord na nOg, said “On behalf of Bord na nÓg we would like to wish MPSL the best of luck in the construction phase of their project. Well done to all involved for getting the project to this point. When completed this building will be a wonderful asset to the community but especially for the youth of the area.”

That sort of community spirit and loyalty replicated in so many, from Gene Baxter giving the use of a premises for a club gym, or Ciaran Reidy of Mohill GAA club’s main sponsors, Lough Rynn Castle Estate & Gardens Hotel. And it is a loyalty MPSL hopes will see them help meet their fundraising targets.

“Mohill has always pulled together but we will be going around the country with this campaign,” said Padraig, “At the start it will be online but we’re going to push it in Leitrim, New York, Dublin, anywhere at all we can.

“We intend to go round the county and I’d say we will get a good response from every other club because anyone who comes to our door, Mohill always supports them.

“Ciaran Reidy from Lough Rynn Castle Estate Hotel & Gardens is our main sponsor and the way he has looked after us is, we couldn’t ask for anything more from him. He is the main sponsor of the materials through the Hanly Group so we really are appreciative of having him involved. Ciaran has never stood back when it comes to doing what he can for us.”

Also among the prize sponsors are Central Motors in Mohill who are sponsoring the first prize of an Opel Corsa; Padraig & Claire McLoughlin who are sponsoring the second prize of Limousin Heifer, Cormac & Barbara McManus who are sponsoring €500 worth of timber flooring and Lough Rynn Castle Estate & Gardens Hotel who are sponsoring a €500 voucher for their hotel along with many, more prizes.

Mohill GAA Club will be the main user of the new facilities as the GAA club seek to cope with increasing demand and ambitions: “Kevin Kilrane was chairman of the club when we built the pitch, we had a very poor pitch but we have an outstanding ground now and we hope to be able to host county games when we have the dressing rooms in place.”

The new complex will be built opposite the old dressing rooms on the right hand side as you got out onto the pitch with the old dressing rooms retained to help cope with the demand for use of the facility. MPSL would have ambitions to develop the facilities further but the main aim now is to develop what they can afford.

Those ambitions include developing a second pitch to cater for the number of teams being fielded by Mohill: “The next thing we would have in mind is a second pitch because of the volume of use the facilities get. We have Ladies teams from underage right up to Senior, the same as the lads.

“We’re delighted to see the ladies but with three adult men’s teams along with juvenile boys teams, there is a lot of pressure on the pitches. The next big target would be to get a second pitch there, to acquire an extra bit of land. Our pitch is probably the closest to the town centre of any pitch in the country - it is going to be a great facility, it is a very exciting time for the club and that is why we have launched this draw.”

The first prize is an Opel Corsa sponsored by Central Motors Mohill who have been huge supporters of Mohill GAA, especially at underage level, with their sponsorship of jerseys for almost every team from u9 up to Minor.

Both Kieran and Geraldine give their time freely to the club, Kieran is our U15 manager and Geraldine patches up the injuries of most age groups at matches all over the county. Central Motors sponsorship of the car for this draw is extremely generous

Second prize is a Limousin Heifer sponsored by Padraig & Claire McLoughlin. Padraig, as a long serving official, has invested a huge amount of time and energy into Mohill GAA and MPSL and the donation of this prize is hugely generous.

Third prize is €500 voucher from Cormac & Barbara McManus of North West Timber & Tiles (or €500 case). Both Cormac and Barbara are huge assets to the underage set up in Mohill - Cormac the U13 manager and Barbara our U13 co ordinator and Covid officer - are running their hugely successful business and we thank them for their prize

Fourth prize is a €500 voucher for Lough Rynn Castle Hotel. Their GM Ciaran Reidy and his staff in Rynn have been exceptional supporters of the club and MPSL and have committed to support the project in conjunction with Hanley Quarries. Nothing for Ciaran or the team is any problem for any GAA or any Community group in the locality

Paul Kilgannon has also donated a personal training pack worth over €1,500 for the draw, including a one on one session in our early bird mini draws.

Tickets are €20 each or three for €50 with online specials of ten for €100; 50 for €250 and 100 for €500 with the aim to clear our loan and debt in the first year with the proceeds of the fundraising.

The Win A Car For Mohill Clubhouse Raffle” has already attracted huge attention with €2000 worth of tickets purchased online in the first 2 days of the raffle. Log onto www.MPSL.ie or Mohill clubhouse facebook page to buy tickets online or tickets are available from Mohill GAA and MPSL members.

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