Mayo GAA has announced plans to build a three-pitch centre of excellence in Castlebar, in co-operation with Mayo County Council.
The council has acquired approximately 27 acres of land adjacent to Lough Lannagh, near the new Castlebar Swimming Pool and GMIT and intends to "develop it for the purposes of sport, tourism and recreation".
The land will be developed into two sections, a Mayo GAA Training Centre, comprising three pitches to facilitate the training and development of youth teams and the support of the Ladies Football team, as well as providing facilities for high-performance teams visiting the Centre and staying in the Lough Lannagh Holiday Village.
Mike Connolly, Chairman of Mayo GAA, welcomed today’s announcement, which follows last year's cancellation of plans to develop a site at Craggagh, over potential flooding concerns.
"The Mayo GAA Training Centre is something that we have been working on for a long time and I am delighted to be able to announce today that this will now become a reality," he said.
"Lough Lannagh is becoming a sporting hub in the Castlebar area with the tennis club, boxing club and new swimming pool already in situ and we are now delighted to become centrally involved in the area also.
"The Mayo GAA Training Centre is vitally important for the current generation of Mayo players as well as the future players who will wear the Green & Red.
"The Mayo GAA Training Centre will be a permanent training base for our senior football and hurlers as well as all our underage teams. It will also give us the opportunity to support the ladies in their training and development. It will be used to train and educate our players in both on-field and off-field activities".
The lands acquired by Mayo County Council will be developed as part of an overall Sports Tourism Development Plan, which will see the existing walkways around the lake extended, as well as other leisure and sports tourism facilities. The acquisition will also facilitate the connection of the Greenway at Lough Lannagh to the wider Great Western Greenway which is planned to follow on from the new N5 route between Castlebar and Westport.
Peter Hynes, Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, said: "This is a major step for the Castlebar region and for the county, the acquisition has significant potential in the areas of sports tourism, public amenity and sports development.
"This unique project which is the result of a strategic partnership between Mayo County Council and Mayo GAA addresses a longstanding objective to develop sports and recreational tourism in this county. I believe this partnership presents an exceptional opportunity to maximise the potential of Lough Lannagh and the surrounding area in the years ahead".