Fermanagh GAA has plans to continue the development of its facilities at Lissan.

Work on the pitches at the county’s traiining facility have now been completed and the aim now is to add a strength and conditioning hub, as well as a meeting/socialising area for players.

As a member of the Lissan workgroup, County Development Officer, Sean Donnelly, explains that there is a three-stage development planned.

“We are planning a three-stage process, so stage one is the pitches, which are done.

“The next stage is we are going to build a 3000 sq ft strength and conditioning hub, and an area for the players to socialise, eat and have meetings, plus we intend to put dugouts on the pitches, and upgrade the driveway and parking area.

“Phase three would then be adding another two changing rooms, a lounge and reception area, and some offices, as well as the upgrade of the existing building, while there will also be landscaping and fencing an d an overall upgrade to improve the aesthetic look of Lissan,” said Donnelly, who sits on the workgroup with Tom Boyle, Greg Kelly, Phil Flanagan, Fearghal O’Connor, Brian Armitage, Sean Burns and Lauri Mc Cusker.

He does accept though that given the difficulties that Covid has brought, the plan is now a longer one that originally intended.

“Obviously, we are very aware of the funding gap that is realistically going to be there for the next five years from Croke Park, so we are planning around that.

“It is a seven- to ten-year plan. Pre-Covid, it would have been a five-year plan, but now, with Covid, Croke Park aren’t going to be giving out money,” he said.

The resurfacing of the pitches has now been completed, although they need to be given time to settle in before they can be used.

“So far, the two pitches have been completely resurfaced. The old surface was stripped off and then drainage upgraded, and then a complete new sand-based pitch was relaid on both surfaces, so it will be an excellent surface.

“The pitch now need time to settle in and for the roots to establish before you can put boots on it. They will probably be ready in late Summer, but the inter-county season probably over at that stage.

“We also need a good maintenance package with it. It’s like an injury – the operation is only half the battle, they need to be properly maintained.

“Sand-based pitches by their nature are very hungry for nutrients; it’s not like a natural soil pitch, so you have look after it a lot more, but there is no question that it will be two top-quality surfaces when it’s finished,” he stated.