Definition of a Centre of Excellence “Centres of excellence are characteristically strategic facilities providing a range of pitches both natural grass and more frequently synthetic surface for senior and juvenile coaching and training as well as ancillary amenities. They serve the catchment of a whole county and are of a sufficient scale to make them readily distinguishable from club facilities.
Therefore they require large sites and a number of potential sites must be excluded from
consideration. There are increasingly becoming a number of features provided within centres of excellence. These include:
- A substantial number of pitches
- Synthetic pitches which are preferably “third generation”.
- Hurling alleys
- Indoor sports hall
- Coach and car parking & accessibility
Examples of GAA Centres of Excellence from around the Country.
- Three sand based engineered playing pitches complete with irrigation sytem
- One fibrous sand training area for sprint, strength and stamina work as well as ball work;
- One gravel raft engineered pitch complete with pop up irrigation system;
- All pitches and training area will be floodlit with lux levels varying from 250lux to 500lux;
- Three Croke Park size natural playing pitches
- Two third generation synthetic pitches
- Hurling wall and warm up area.
- Space for 260 cars and 7 coaches
- Six all-weather natural grass pitches,
- One synthetic pitch,
- A running track, a clubhouse,
- An indoor pitch,
- Handball courts,
- Hurling walls
In Cork, the largest County in Ireland, the Cork County Board plans for a Centre of Excellence consist of one synthetic playing pitch in one of the least accessible areas in Cork City with no parking provision and a high level of local opposition to the development as it severs the planned Marina Park. The Cork County Board have choosen this route even though they have a large parcel of land in Kilbarry, North Cork suitable in terms of accessibility and size for a state of art Centre of Excellence that would rival those seen in other Countys.