Leafair ball catchers for Gaelic games plan

Colr. Brian Tierney. (DER0314PG016)
Colr. Brian Tierney. (DER0314PG016)

New ball catchers are to be installed at the 3G Leafair pitches to facilitate GAA games being played there.

Planning permission will now be sought for the £40,000 project, after funding of £20,000 was approved by Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Health and Community Committee at its February meeting on Thursday evening.

Match funding is to be provided by Northside Development Trust.

council’s Head of Community Development & Leisure Barry O’Hagan, in a report presented before the committee, outlined how the Leafair 3G pitch opened in February, 2011 and the site currently consists of a 95m x 50m floodlit 3G pitch with 4.8 metre fence surrounding the perimeter.

“Engagement with stakeholders in relation to Gaelic Games promotion in the Greater Shantallow area, including Outer North Neighbourhood Renewal Board, Greater Shantallow Area Partnership, Leafair Community Association, Brian Og’s Steelstown GAC and Na Magha CLG, has highlighted that the current 4.8m fence surrounding Leafair 3G pitch would not be suitable to cater for Gaelic Games,” he said.

A 10 m x 45 m wide ball catcher, directly behind the goal post at each end, incorporated into existing 4.8 m perimeter fence has been recommended to meet requirements.

Proposing thecommittee approve the officer’s recommendation, SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney said he had been involved in many discussions with the GAA in Ballyarnett and said it was clear there was a need and a desire to broaden provision for Gaelic games in the area.

“I see this as a positive development,” he said.

Sinn Fein Councillor Eric McGinley seconded the proposal, and asked the council officers to ensure a protective fence was also factored in for the new pitch and play park facility at Ballymagroarty.