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Nomads No More, There's A Real Buzz In Offaly GAA Once Again

Nomads No More, There's A Real Buzz In Offaly GAA Once Again

Kevin Martin has sympathy for previous Offaly hurling managers - they did not have the facilities which he now has at his disposal.

"I have to say it must have been a real headache for them if they hadn’t a training base," Martin said at the launch of the Leinster Hurling Championship.

Last autumn, the Faithful Fields training centre was opened in Kilcormac. There are four pitches, astroturf and a gym - the type of facility Offaly GAA has long needed to bloom again.

"I remember in my playing days you might get a call on a Tuesday and you didn’t know where you were going. The Faithful Fields is a major contribution to our set up. It had to have been a nightmare trying to get pitches."

Even during the late winter and early spring snow which caused havoc with league fixtures, the facility allowed Offaly to hit the gym - their own gym - and do a bit of work.

For players like senior football captain Anton Sullivan, it has made a major difference. Those who populate the inter-county panels are no longer nomads in their own county.

In previous years, we'd be waiting for a message, maybe the day of a training session to see if a pitch is available or where we're going - a last minute thing.

We would have been scattered. I suppose, depending on weather, you could have been out anywhere because you'd just hope a club would give you their pitch.

Now we have a settled facility, it just makes things easier. You have a settled base for gym and physios.

You know what time you have to leave Dublin at. If you're coming far, you know exactly where you're going.

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Hurling captain David King sees the training facility as being a major factor in the rising mood of Offaly GAA.

"You see the U17s coming in training before us, the camogies were training at the weekend, you'd see a huge base of Offaly hurling and camogie now so it's great encouragement to see.

"You get a sense of the atmosphere around the county and that's a huge difference this year."

Both King and Sullivan feel a buzz on the nights they're training in Kilcormac.

"You know the hurlers are down there as well, you have all the development squads, you have the ladies football, camogie," Sullivan told Balls at the launch of the Leinster Football Championship.

"There's a great buzz down there on nights you go down. The fields are full of kids, if they're not full of kids, there's adults training. It's a great vibe, we get a great buzz off each other.

"It's a fabulous facility, you want for nothing down there. It's been a great help to us."

Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

See Also: Jamesie O'Connor Has Concerns About The Future Of Clare Hurling

PJ Browne
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