Former Roscommon goalkeeper Shane Curran has proposed a new stadium in Athlone to stage home matches for Westmeath and Roscommon that would include state of the art facilities to boost Gaelic Games in the region.
The project would incorporate a centre of excellence for use by both counties as well as underage structures to increase the number of children involved in the sports.
He made the suggestion in his column in the Westmeath Independent and told RTÉ’s Drivetime this afternoon: "The key objective to what I'm proposing is the likes of Roscommon and Westmeath would come together to produce a plan that would give the people of the midlands and west region a creditable centre of excellent and a creditable stadium in which to play the game.
"When something like this is put out into the public domain, it is an emotive question because there is a lot of historical differences in the GAA through part-ownership.
"What we have to establish is whether there is a want for it, whether there is a need for it and a sober analysis of whether we can afford it or not."
"Cusack Park in Mullingar is a nice stadium but it doesn't have any commercial aspect to it and the same goes for Hyde Park " Shane Curran
Curran criticised some stadiums that lack "any commercial aspect" and sees this potential facility as an opportunity to rival professional sports in the region.
He continued: "A three or four-point plan needs to be put together that would incorporate a business plan, a feasibility study and a financially viability plan for any potential stadium in the area.
"What we have in Ireland at the moment, if you look at our stadia, they all tend to be big white elephants. Concrete jungles basically, for want of a better term.
"Cusack Park in Mullingar is a nice stadium but it doesn't have any commercial aspect to it and the same goes for Hyde Park in Roscommon.
"I'm proposing a centre of excellence in coaching standards, a centre that would have the highest excellence in medical standards and educational standards.
"It would also probably incorporate on-campus a post-primary school which at its core would be a centre of excellence for underage GAA players of all ages whether it is Gaelic football, hurling, camogie or whatever it may be.
"It would give young people in the area the chance to aspire to a level of professionalism that we see in the likes of soccer or rugby.
"The major issue here in the midlands and west is there is a huge infrastructural deficit. The money that is required to build up portfolios of infrastructure just isn't there."