Thursday 22 August 2019

'Facility can only be good for sport in Co Wexford'

Centre manager, Seamus O'Brien pictured with his wife, Celine.
Centre manager, Seamus O'Brien pictured with his wife, Celine.

By david looby

'It's a fair challenge mowing four pitches two or three times a week, but it's something I like.'

Halo Tiles Centre of Excellence Manager Seamus O'Brien may only live a stone's throw from the complex, but he is never far away from it.

Having grown up nearby, the former milk delivery man can remember when the field was all bushes and wild looking.

'When you think what the place was like and you look at it now it's hard to believe the transformation. Before there was a little farmyard owned by the Dunbar brothers, Tom and Paddy. They had two green half doors in the farmhouse and the overall site was around 150 acres.'

He said 24 acres were re-seeded on the site after the county's GAA bought it and he has the task of cutting the fields.

'I'm delighted to be involved in it. Hopefully it will go from strength to strength.'

Seamus's wife Celine is also involved in the set-up, working as caretaker.

He said the fact that the Centre of Excellence was able to cater for 8,000 people earlier this month for the U14 All Ireland football finals was very encouraging.

'Everything went like clockwork. There were a lot of stewards who did a tremendous job with traffic management and the car park was full to the brim with buses and cars. It was all well handled. It was a great success, especially as the place isn't even officially opened yet.'

Mr O'Brien admitted that there was concern about how the event would go.

'You would be expecting some teething problems, but there were none. This is a facility which can only do good for sport in County Wexford.'

Mr O'Brien was busy getting the grounds ready for the arrival of the senior footballers on Tuesday. He said several teams have tried out the new pitches and there have been no complaints.

'We had the U17 footabll trials and U16 hurlers training here and last week the U21 hurlers and the senior and junior footballers were here. You always have to be around when they're here and tidy up just in case something is needed. It's a fair challenge but it's something I like. You would be out mowing the pitches two or three times a week.'

With a busy autumn around the corner, Mr O'Brien is anticiapting a lot of traffic in and out of the centre of excellence over the coming months.

Today the four pitches look immaculate and there is room for up to four more so Seamus O'Brien may have a busy few years ahead of him on his ride-on diesel lawnmower.

Wexford People

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