THE first sod was cut at the new Armagh GAA training complex in Portadown on Thursday and phase one (the first of five) of the £10million development will include two full-size floodlit pitches and a strength and conditioning performance hub with changing facilities. It is scheduled to be ready for use from August of this year.
When completed, the facility will be home to four full-size sand fibre grass training pitches (the first of their kind in Ireland) as well as full floodlighting, fencing, catch nets and a sports pavilion which will incorporate four sets of changing rooms, a multi-purpose hall, meeting rooms, office accommodation and treatment/physio rooms.
In addition there will be a strength and conditioning performance hub, a sports dome 3G pitch and inflatable bubble for all-weather training, a ball wall, a spectator stand and terrace area, a maintenance building and a coach/car parking area.
The new centre has been designed by McCreanor Architects and will replace the out-dated training grounds at Callanbridge in Armagh City. It will be situated at St Malachy’s in Portadown.
“Our limited training facilities are in need of a transformative boost to propel us into a new era of excellence,” explained Armagh County Board chairman Paul McArdle.
“The critical need for additional pitches and future investment is paramount as well as sustaining the legacy of our existing facilities. To ensure the successful delivery of vital facilities to cater for all our county teams and development squads, we are embarking on a new fundraising initiative.
“This initiative is more than a campaign; it is a call to action.”
President Jimmy Smyth added, “The start of the county training facility is a proud moment for everyone involved. This much-needed facility will undoubtedly boost player development and serve as a high-performance hub. It’s absolutely vital we create an environment for underage and adult players to reach their full potential.”
Armagh will launch fundraising initiative ‘Momentum Armagh’ at the Armagh City Hotel on Friday. Orchard county supporters have been invited to give their backing to the scheme by signing up for one of four packages on offer – silver, gold, platinum and diamond.