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Ballykinlar

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No it isn't the first day of April, but these people are actually serious about leasing land from the MoD, "for development", though development of exactly what remains about as clear as the statement released by the county committee.
First of all Ballykinlar, despite its vibrant GAA community, is not exactly a central location, with no offence meant to the good Gaels of east Down. So why are we even in negotiations with anyone? It's the wrong location.
Have we forgotten about the diabolical fiasco that was Tesco/Newcastle/Burrenbridge and the financial burden placed upon each and every one of us, or that the people responsible are still in place? Though to be fair, we do rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic every couple of years, though the same faces keep reappearing, just sitting in different seats. Or should I say wearing different hats, our leader will release a statement with a few "buzz words" to make us all feel good about ourselves again. Has anyone mentioned tradition yet, or the Down Way?

If a Centre of Excellence is to be built, then surely common sense dictates that it is built where it is actually needed and not where we can rent some land on the cheap. Somewhere close to Castlewellan or Kilcoo is the obvious choice, if we forget about the hurlers, which we usually do anyway. Hire professionals to do the job from start to finish. This includes the purchase or lease of any lands. A few ideas scrawled on an empty chip wrapper from Zebedee's just won't do these days Sean. I know we'll end up paying for it one way or the other, but it would be nice to think that the money is spent wisely this time.

10/1 it never happens anyway.

5iveTimes (Down) - Posts: 49 - 17/08/2017 17:03:06    2034786

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Checked Google Maps there. Its is less than 15 minutes driving time from Castlewellan - Ballykinlar. Have you ever been to Ballykinlar yourself ? Its literally a stones throw from Clough, i.e. where the main Downpatrick - Newry and Belfast - Kilkeel roads cross.

Therefroe, in Down GAA terms, it could hardly be better situated so, personally I think its a great location for a CoE, Easily accessible from our biggest clubs, and also a site that will help greatly in harnessing the potential of the East Down and Belfast clubs.

However most importantly , using a former MOD site lends a great deal of funding potential to what must be envisaged as a major development, Surely all nationalists will agree it would be a great "Peace " dividend that the largest base on this island for the british army in the last 100 years would end up being used for Gaelic Games in the 100 years that lie ahead. Furthermore, not many people know the site was also used as an internment camp, with Eamon Develera , who was also MP for South Down for a time, himself being imprisoned there.

So Ballykinlar could be an inspired choice, if everyone rolls in behind it.

spiritof1991 (Down) - Posts: 693 - 17/08/2017 21:46:03    2034908

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Spirit is spot on and Ballykinlar is a completely appropriate site for players from the four codes in our county. No one has forgotten about Burrenbridge and this is an ideal opportunity to finally provide us with the Centre of Excellence which, on the strength of results at all levels over recent years, we urgently need. The other huge attraction at Ballykinlar is that it is already being used for what are regarded as training purposes and planning permission should be straightforward. Putting in an application for the change of use of land elsewhere is a complex and unpredictable process which could go on for years with no guarantees about the outcome. If we get the financing right at B/K, and the indications are good, our teams will get the chance to move to a new level.

MourneRising (Down) - Posts: 238 - 18/08/2017 18:24:18    2035204

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Replying To MourneRising:  "Spirit is spot on and Ballykinlar is a completely appropriate site for players from the four codes in our county. No one has forgotten about Burrenbridge and this is an ideal opportunity to finally provide us with the Centre of Excellence which, on the strength of results at all levels over recent years, we urgently need. The other huge attraction at Ballykinlar is that it is already being used for what are regarded as training purposes and planning permission should be straightforward. Putting in an application for the change of use of land elsewhere is a complex and unpredictable process which could go on for years with no guarantees about the outcome. If we get the financing right at B/K, and the indications are good, our teams will get the chance to move to a new level."
Sorry it wasn't Eamon De Velara that was imprisoned in Ballykinlar, rather it was Seán Lemass.

Knew it was one of them guys

spiritof1991 (Down) - Posts: 693 - 19/08/2017 19:01:44    2035380

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spiritof1991, I'm very well acquainted with the Ballykinlar area, but my point remains that it is an unnecessary extra journey for the vast majority of our county players, even if it is as you say only an extra 15 minutes from Castlewellan, that is still an extra half an hour per player, per journey, per training session. If you look at the team for the recent Ulster final v Tyrone, there weren't too many players from outside the south Down area, it is a matter of simple common sense to build any centre of excellence within that area.
I'm not sure that any so called nationalists will agree with your point that building anything on the site of a former British army base as an inspired choice at all, in fact I would hope the opposite is true. And if it really is an opportunity for further funding and what you call a 'peace dividend' then would you really want the same people in charge of that money, that were in charge of the purse strings during the Tesco debacle? No I thought not.

5iveTimes (Down) - Posts: 49 - 23/08/2017 15:53:21    2036833

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Replying To 5iveTimes:  "spiritof1991, I'm very well acquainted with the Ballykinlar area, but my point remains that it is an unnecessary extra journey for the vast majority of our county players, even if it is as you say only an extra 15 minutes from Castlewellan, that is still an extra half an hour per player, per journey, per training session. If you look at the team for the recent Ulster final v Tyrone, there weren't too many players from outside the south Down area, it is a matter of simple common sense to build any centre of excellence within that area.
I'm not sure that any so called nationalists will agree with your point that building anything on the site of a former British army base as an inspired choice at all, in fact I would hope the opposite is true. And if it really is an opportunity for further funding and what you call a 'peace dividend' then would you really want the same people in charge of that money, that were in charge of the purse strings during the Tesco debacle? No I thought not."
No mention of the hurling there 5times,,, Strange that.

bricktop (Down) - Posts: 2441 - 24/08/2017 08:49:45    2037002

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Replying To bricktop:  "No mention of the hurling there 5times,,, Strange that."
Although 5ivetimes says that not too many players from outside south Down were involved in the Ulster final, he should take another look at the match programme. It confirms that six members of the starting 15 and two of the subs used were from clubs affiliated to the east Down board. Bricktop is correct to point out that we need to take the hurlers into account, and the two women's codes also have a strong presence outside of the south Down area. Ballykinlar is as central a location as we can acquire if we want to facilitate players from the entire county, and it likely to avoid the planning issues which can be expected elsewhere, so there are very strong arguments for finalising the plans there.

MourneRising (Down) - Posts: 238 - 24/08/2017 11:49:33    2037082

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Replying To bricktop:  "No mention of the hurling there 5times,,, Strange that."
At best, the county board, pay lip service to the hurlers. I didn't see too many of them in Croke Park when we won the Christy Ring in 2013, though they were in the Canal Court afterwards.

5iveTimes (Down) - Posts: 49 - 24/08/2017 12:55:01    2037126

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Replying To 5iveTimes:  "At best, the county board, pay lip service to the hurlers. I didn't see too many of them in Croke Park when we won the Christy Ring in 2013, though they were in the Canal Court afterwards."
I'm not disagreeing with you there as you're spot on.

Wouldn't make it right for the South Down centric county board to ignore the rest of the county all the same.

bricktop (Down) - Posts: 2441 - 24/08/2017 13:14:51    2037141

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5times - I find it bizzare that you accuse and convict the county board of a lack of forward thinking and yet suggest that we base the CoE in the "heartland" of Burren

spiritof1991 (Down) - Posts: 693 - 25/08/2017 13:15:37    2037542

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5times - I find it bizzare that you accuse and convict the county board of a lack of forward thinking and yet suggest that we base the CoE in, I assume, the "heartland" of Burren/Mayobridge/Hilltown/Kilcoo

You are certainly correct that interest in the GAA is retreating into these areas, a fact that is bourn out by their over-representation in the current and recent senior squads. However isn't this the very trend we should be trying to counteract ?

FACT - The greatest ever Down footballer came from Ballykinlar - Paddy Doherty.


Jarleth Carey and Eddie McKay came from neigbours Dundrum. I could go on but of course this was in the 60's when Down football was the envy of the whole country - certainly not the case at the moment. Part of the decline is because that, in years past ,the county had a much broader base of clubs to draw from. This is the very situation we should be trying to restore, not consolidate further decline with short sghtedness.

I would also add the, population wise, the Down clubs with the 3 biggest potentials in future generations county are Bredagh, Carryduff and St Paul's.

I would predict that in 50 years time many smaller Down clubs will have amalgamated and that South/East Belfast clubs will be the Mayobridge, Kilcoo and Burren of their times.

If small club amalgamations do take place then East Down (Full of lower division clubs ) may become much more significant within the county as a whole, and this is not to mention existing strong east Down clubs like Downpatrick and Loughinisland, which will certainly survive as is, and which have always contributed county standard players.

spiritof1991 (Down) - Posts: 693 - 25/08/2017 13:37:41    2037559

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Spirit while you are making all these fanciful predictions, any chance of Friday nights Euromillions numbers?

If you are relying on the fact that one of out greatest ever players was from Ballykinlar as a reason to build a CoE there, then I really think you are clutching at straws. Our beloved county board described Ballykinlar as having a 'vibrant GAA community', yet they have been unable to field a team for a number of years. Need we go on?

As for the Belfast clubs possibly being the future of Down GAA, how about living in the here and now? This is the same Belfast where they couldn't even have Casement Park rebuilt, although there were no problems with either Windsor Park or Ravenhill. Do you really want to continue with that line of thought?

A centre of excellence was needed quite a few years ago, anyone with any foresight could have told you that, but for glaringly obvious reasons it was never actually on the agenda within Down GAA circles, next time you buy your ticket for the county draw you can ask questions as to why. To build it anywhere outside of the main GAA strongholds within the county would be another mistake in a long line of mistakes, but unfortunately this now seems to be the accepted 'Down way.'

5iveTimes (Down) - Posts: 49 - 29/08/2017 17:38:00    2040265

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Replying To 5iveTimes:  "Spirit while you are making all these fanciful predictions, any chance of Friday nights Euromillions numbers?

If you are relying on the fact that one of out greatest ever players was from Ballykinlar as a reason to build a CoE there, then I really think you are clutching at straws. Our beloved county board described Ballykinlar as having a 'vibrant GAA community', yet they have been unable to field a team for a number of years. Need we go on?

As for the Belfast clubs possibly being the future of Down GAA, how about living in the here and now? This is the same Belfast where they couldn't even have Casement Park rebuilt, although there were no problems with either Windsor Park or Ravenhill. Do you really want to continue with that line of thought?

A centre of excellence was needed quite a few years ago, anyone with any foresight could have told you that, but for glaringly obvious reasons it was never actually on the agenda within Down GAA circles, next time you buy your ticket for the county draw you can ask questions as to why. To build it anywhere outside of the main GAA strongholds within the county would be another mistake in a long line of mistakes, but unfortunately this now seems to be the accepted 'Down way.'"
What has the ineptitude of Antrim CB and the Ulster Council making a hames of Casement got to do with Bredagh and Carryduff?

You're firing off all over the place,

bricktop (Down) - Posts: 2441 - 30/08/2017 09:33:54    2040598

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Replying To 5iveTimes:  "Spirit while you are making all these fanciful predictions, any chance of Friday nights Euromillions numbers?

If you are relying on the fact that one of out greatest ever players was from Ballykinlar as a reason to build a CoE there, then I really think you are clutching at straws. Our beloved county board described Ballykinlar as having a 'vibrant GAA community', yet they have been unable to field a team for a number of years. Need we go on?

As for the Belfast clubs possibly being the future of Down GAA, how about living in the here and now? This is the same Belfast where they couldn't even have Casement Park rebuilt, although there were no problems with either Windsor Park or Ravenhill. Do you really want to continue with that line of thought?

A centre of excellence was needed quite a few years ago, anyone with any foresight could have told you that, but for glaringly obvious reasons it was never actually on the agenda within Down GAA circles, next time you buy your ticket for the county draw you can ask questions as to why. To build it anywhere outside of the main GAA strongholds within the county would be another mistake in a long line of mistakes, but unfortunately this now seems to be the accepted 'Down way.'"
5times no one has, or would suggest , we should locate a CoE in Ballykinlar just because a particular was from there. That would be ridiculous.

My actually point is, of course, that Down are drawing from an increasingly small panel of players eminating more and more exclusively from the "Heartland" areas.

Leaving the 60's out of it, East Down/ Belfast provided several extremely notable players like Greg Blayney, Peter Withnall, Paul McComiskey, Donal Bell, Brendan Mason, Gary Mason, Conor Deegan who all won All Ireland or National league medals with Down. Furthermore most of these played for intermediate clubs outside of Division 1, and I am sure there are several others I have forgotten.

The actual point is we will not arrest the decline which is occuring, and about which everyone agrees, without strengthening standards in East Down ,and particularly in Belfast.

Hence a Central Location, which Ballykinlar is, rather than a Southern location is what is required.

spiritof1991 (Down) - Posts: 693 - 30/08/2017 18:30:22    2040848

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There was me stupidly thinking that we were a dual county............... a centre of excellence in Ballykinler isn't ideal but if Castlewellan isn't an option then ballykinler is as good as anywhere and certainly better than basing something in the bottom of the county around Newry

Our underage hurling squads have trained in Downpatrick the last few years with 8/9 lads from South Down involved and no issue with the travelling so don't see why people have such an issue with travel to Ballykinler.......not a lot of difference for the lads from the Mournes even from a football perspective so really the only Ines put out by this will be the cartel of 3/4 south Down clubs who think they can dictate to everyone else.

Ballykinler will suit the hurlers fine, sure it will be the same for the camogs while for 75% of the football clubs it will also be relatively central....as I said not as ideal as Castlewellan would have been but it's a good option and more importantly one that can get up and running quickly

PaudieSull1 (Down) - Posts: 726 - 30/08/2017 20:40:41    2040876

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Replying To bricktop:  "What has the ineptitude of Antrim CB and the Ulster Council making a hames of Casement got to do with Bredagh and Carryduff?

You're firing off all over the place,"
Are you denying that the GAA in Belfast is in serious decline? Certainly looks like it from where I'm standing, no matter which side of the Lagan you happen to be on. It's not like the county team is packed with lads from the city.

5iveTimes (Down) - Posts: 49 - 31/08/2017 21:26:39    2041361

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Replying To spiritof1991:  "5times no one has, or would suggest , we should locate a CoE in Ballykinlar just because a particular was from there. That would be ridiculous.

My actually point is, of course, that Down are drawing from an increasingly small panel of players eminating more and more exclusively from the "Heartland" areas.

Leaving the 60's out of it, East Down/ Belfast provided several extremely notable players like Greg Blayney, Peter Withnall, Paul McComiskey, Donal Bell, Brendan Mason, Gary Mason, Conor Deegan who all won All Ireland or National league medals with Down. Furthermore most of these played for intermediate clubs outside of Division 1, and I am sure there are several others I have forgotten.

The actual point is we will not arrest the decline which is occuring, and about which everyone agrees, without strengthening standards in East Down ,and particularly in Belfast.

Hence a Central Location, which Ballykinlar is, rather than a Southern location is what is required."
To quote the late Matt Fitzpatrick, a Carryduff man, "all roads lead to Newry" need I say more?

Spirit you have admitted yourself that the county team is almost entirely reliant on players from the traditional GAA heartland within the county, why place an extra travel burden on those players? I really don't see a need to build any CoE outside of that area. Although if I am being totally honest, I don't ever see it happening, not with the current regime.

5iveTimes (Down) - Posts: 49 - 31/08/2017 21:42:14    2041372

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Replying To 5iveTimes:  "To quote the late Matt Fitzpatrick, a Carryduff man, "all roads lead to Newry" need I say more?

Spirit you have admitted yourself that the county team is almost entirely reliant on players from the traditional GAA heartland within the county, why place an extra travel burden on those players? I really don't see a need to build any CoE outside of that area. Although if I am being totally honest, I don't ever see it happening, not with the current regime."
I almost forgot the late Matt Fitzpatrick's views represented those of the entire county. How could that fact have slipped my mind...

Also as stated multiple times Down isn't solely a football county and that's a fact whether or not you choose to accept it. Perhaps you and the dubbed "Heartland" areas could form their own county, no facilities for hurling or other codes and solely football.

But then again I firmly believe the majority of those from these "Heartland" areas would be more than understanding with regards to the location of a CoE. They would be able to comprehend that it is unreasonable to place a CoE in Burren or wherever you may choose based on the fact that the Senior football team at this moment in time consists of more footballers from these "Heartland" areas than other areas in the county.

The board are building a future for the entire county across all codes of the GAA, not just appeasing backward thinking folk like yourself 5iveTimes. After all, we're Down GAA not Heartlands Football GAC...

downtoearth (Down) - Posts: 7 - 02/09/2017 13:16:11    2041794

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Replying To downtoearth:  "I almost forgot the late Matt Fitzpatrick's views represented those of the entire county. How could that fact have slipped my mind...

Also as stated multiple times Down isn't solely a football county and that's a fact whether or not you choose to accept it. Perhaps you and the dubbed "Heartland" areas could form their own county, no facilities for hurling or other codes and solely football.

But then again I firmly believe the majority of those from these "Heartland" areas would be more than understanding with regards to the location of a CoE. They would be able to comprehend that it is unreasonable to place a CoE in Burren or wherever you may choose based on the fact that the Senior football team at this moment in time consists of more footballers from these "Heartland" areas than other areas in the county.

The board are building a future for the entire county across all codes of the GAA, not just appeasing backward thinking folk like yourself 5iveTimes. After all, we're Down GAA not Heartlands Football GAC..."
Cud we nay hay it in Ballygalget

Galgetgael (Down) - Posts: 214 - 02/09/2017 17:27:51    2041881

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"The board are building a future for the entire county across all codes of the GAA, not just appeasing backward thinking folk like yourself 5iveTimes. After all, we're Down GAA not Heartlands Football GAC..."

As I've said previously I'll believe it when I see it regarding anything actually getting built, lets be realistic the same board pays lip service to the hurlers. That same board doesn't exactly have a great track record when it comes to land deals and building anything now does it?

5iveTimes (Down) - Posts: 49 - 03/09/2017 15:11:31    2042161

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