GAA players in Rockland County will soon have the pleasure of training and competing in a state of the art football pitch in 2010.

Rockland Gaelic Athletic Association held a groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, May 30 in the field they initially purchased for $700,000 in 2000. 

In 1972, when parents were fed up of driving their children back and forth to the Bronx for training, a few of the adults got together and decided to start up the Rockland GAA.

Throughout this time, the committee members began looking for a home that they could call their own. In 2000, their prayers were answered.

The Rockland GAA purchased its field of dreams on land that is now formerly known as Rockland Psychiatric Center.

Nine years later work has finally begun on the eight and a half acre site. It took eight years to pay off the $700,000 debt.

Rockland GAA chairman Emmett Woods told the Irish Voice that phase one, which is costing $1.2 million and should be completed in a year, will house one large football pitch with full irrigation and flood lights and two smaller training pitches.

Phase two, which Woods, a Co. Tyrone native, said will commence next year, will cost an additional $1.5 million and will house a clubhouse and an indoor gym.

Several fundraisers and raffles and substantial grants from the Irish government and the GAA have made the new pitches possible.

“We already have over 700 kids registered in our program and we hope now when the new pitch is completed that we will have several more children who might be interested in playing,” added Woods.

Over 150 adults, including Irish Consul General Niall Burgess and his wife Marie, gathered at the field on May 30 to see the first stone unturned at the site.

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