By Damian Dolan.
London GAA games could be played at St Albans City Football Club in Hertfordshire during the redevelopment of Ruislip, following an offer from the club’s co-owner John McGowan.
McGowan, of the McGowan Group, confirmed to The Irish World that the club has offered the use of its Clarence Park ground to the Ruislip Development Committee as alternative venue for games while the Emerald Grounds is unavailable.
McGowan – London born to Mayo and Cork parents – was initially contacted regarding the committee’s recent opportunity to purchase an engraved seat in the new grandstand at Ruislip, but when it came to his attention that London could be looking for a temporary ground during the nine-month redevelopment work he contacted the Ruislip Development Committee.
“We’ve offered the ground to them as an alternative venue for those nine months,” said McGowan. “We’ve got a football club here with a capacity of 5000 and come Sunday it’s not used, and a football game every second Saturday, so if we can use it for something else.
“It’s a revenue stream for who as well as providing a proper facility to the GAA, being an enclosed area and not an open park. We’ve sponsored London for a number of years, but it never occurred to me to offer the ground until last week.
“If they wanted it, they’d be no charge for it. At this moment in time it’s a very informal offer. If they wish to take it up they’re very welcome.”
If planning permission is granted for the £4.17m facility at the Emerald Grounds, work could get underway as soon as September with completion set or May 2015, in time for London’s Connacht SFC quarter-final with Roscommon.