Funding for the ultra-modern, floodlit pitch and a community walkway, expected to cost €1.2 million, is to be boosted by the proceeds from this year’s Colm Horkan Memorial Run, which saw 1,100 people register to take part in half marathons and 10km and 5km runs.
The event was jointly organised by Mayo Athletic Club and Charlestown Sarsfields GAA Club, which will play on the new ground bearing the late detective’s name.
Members of the Horkan family – his father, Marty, sister, Deirdre and brothers Aiden, Brendan, Dermot and Pádraig – were at the starting lines for the various events on Sunday. With her infant cousin, Ollie in her arms, Deirdre spoke of how difficult it has been for the family since her brother was killed while on duty in Castlerea almost three years ago. Stephen Silver, from Foxford, was this year jailed for Det Horkan’s his capital murder.
“But now we are looking forward to the completion of the project which will bear Colm’s name. It’s going to be a fantastic amenity for the entire community, young and old,” she said.
Liam Breheny, chairman of Charlestown Sarsfield’s GAA Club, said some of the happiest times in Det Horkan’s life were spent either on the existing pitch, or keeping an eye on current and future talent from the sidelines.
“We are hoping that the new amenity will be completed by May of next year,” he said.
Mr Breheny said there had been an obvious upsurge in the local population, in contrast to the decline noted in 1968 by John Healy in his book Death of an Irish Town.
“The numbers in the GAA club are increasing,” he said. “So many people have returned here to raise their children.
“The new pitch and walkway is going to be a huge asset to present and future generations. That’s part of our friend Colm’s legacy to the town and the community.”