Westport GAA have received a donation of €500,000 for development work, with the promise of a further €500,000 in the future.

The donation has been given by local supporters, the Kenny family.

The first €500,000 sum is earmarked for the club's new pitch development on the Golf Course Road in Westport.

Westport GAA have submitted a planning application to the council for the construction of a Croke Park-size football pitch with four sets of changing rooms, a 250-seater stand, floodlights, and a clubhouse to be located on the site. It is hoped work will commence on the project in June.

Jack Kenny played an integral part in the development of the club as a player and club chairman over a number of decades from the 1920s right through to the late 1950s.

Indeed, the Kenny family has had a long and loyal association with the club and its development since the 1920s.

News of the donation emerged at a club meeting during the week and was reported upon by Michael Gallagher in the Mayo News.

Charlie Lambert

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Westport chairman and former Mayo underage footballer, Charlie Lambert outlined the huge boost the donation from the Kenny family has given them.

Lambert said the club was "absolutely thrilled" and hugely appreciative of such a generous offer, particularly from a Westport family that has had such a strong connection with the club, both on and off the field.

It’s clear that development work will try to cater for a rapidly growing membership.

"Since 2012 our membership has doubled and, currently, we have 1,400 members incorporating senior men’s football, Bord na nÓg boys, underage, ladies’ football, hurling and camogie," Lambert said.

"This has placed huge strain on our existing facilities and has necessitated the commencement of development of new grounds."

In men’s adult football, the club’s recent highlights reel includes winning the 2017 All-Ireland intermediate final, Mayo Under-21 titles in 2017 and 2019, making the county senior semi-final in 2020 and having six players on the Mayo panel in 2020. The club also won the Mayo Senior hurling 'B’ title last year.

Westport also reached the county senior ladies football semi-final in 2020, were runners-up in the 2020 Galway Junior ‘C’ camogie final.

"We are currently developing our second five-year strategic plan, incorporating areas such as coaching and games, structures and administration, finance and fundraising, facilities and communication/IT," Lambert added.

"We have applied to the 2021 Sports Capital Grant Scheme for regional funding to incorporate our new facility with a regional base for Mayo camogie, who are fielding an adult team for the first time in a number of years.

"Our new development project lead Danny McLaughlin is spearheading a second Win a House Fundraiser, commencing May 2021 following on from our very successful project in 2019. Danny has been instrumental in obtaining the donation from the Kenny family.

"The club is powered by a fantastic team of volunteers involved in areas such as grounds maintenance, finance, games/coaching, communications, facility development. We are so lucky to have so many great people in our club," he added.

The donation from the Kenny family will help the ever-expanding club achieve their goals in the coming years.

As well as serving as club chairman for several years, Jack Kenny was elected chairman of the Mayo board in 1948.

A very talented footballer, he was a star of the county junior team that beat Leitrim in the Connacht final of 1927. On that same day at the same venue, Jack played for the Mayo seniors, who also overcame Leitrim in the final of the Connacht senior league.

His performances at right corner-back cemented his place on the Mayo senior team and he became the first ever Westport clubman to play senior football for the county.