Inter-county games could be played indoors as early as December as Connacht GAA get set to build the world’s largest sports air dome.
The Connacht Council have the €3m funding in place required to build the air dome, which will be located at their centre of excellence in Bekan, County Mayo.
Such domes are non-permanent structures that are kept inflated by having air pumped into them.
"We’re building a dome here and we’re using all the hot air that comes out of our Connacht Council meetings!" joked provincial secretary John Prenty.
"It will be a boost for the whole of Connacht and we are building it out of necessity.
"We have some very wintry days in this area and that’s one of the reasons we thought about an indoor facility.
"A lot of the stuff that we do here has been delayed because of bad weather. We could play FBD League, county minor league, those sort of games. The pitch is going to be 130m x 80m, the minimum size of a GAA pitch."
Connacht GAA believe that this will be the largest air dome of its kind anywhere in the world and it will eventually host a gym, a running track and seating for 600 spectators alongside the pitch.
It will cost approximately €400 a month to keep inflated and of the €3m needed to build the structure, €2.1m has already been secured from the Department of Community and Rural Development.
Interesting development by @ConnachtGAA in Ballyhaunis. Work on new air dome will begin June at cost of €3 million. Full size GAA pitch, gym, and running track. Seating for 600. Complete by December. Will cost €400 a month to keep inflated. More @morningireland sport #RTEGAA pic.twitter.com/mXgNFbWZMP— Darren Frehill (@Darrenfrehill) 24 April 2019
Prenty explained: "We already have funding from the GAA in the past that we’ve held on to and from our own funding we expect that this project will come in on budget.
"This won’t impact on any club or county financially.
"There were over 7,000 people in this centre this month alone. Most of those were from clubs doing fitness tests and things like that.
"There are counties getting into trouble over going abroad at the minute – they can come here and they’ll have all the facilities they want and you won’t get wet either!"