After several months of fundraising Clonmel Town Football Club have announced that work to redevelop their all weather facility will begin in January 2016. The new pitch, which will be officially opened by mid January, replaces the previous artificial surface which has served the club and community well over the past ten years.
The new 3G pitch at The Dr. Pat O’Callaghan Sports Complex will cost €64,000 to install and will be made from the most up to date technologies that conform to FIFA playing surface standards.
For the past year club members have worked tirelessly to reach their fundraising goal and with the added help of a grant from the National Sports Capital Program they were able to proceed with the project.
The facility will allow teams at all levels in the club to continue to train regardless of the weather, and Clonmel Town hope this will lead to an increase in participation numbers and offer young players the chance to improve their overall skills and enable them to progress to the next level of the sport.
The club which was established in 1963 caters for players as young as six all the way through to youth and adult level and they have enjoyed huge success at all levels over their 52 year history. They are also very proud of their Football For All Programme. This programme has as its central aim the delivery of football opportunities to people who may not ordinarily get a chance to play the ‘beautiful game’ and provides opportunities for children with specific needs who may struggle to excel in the competitive environment of underage football or who need additional supports to develop as footballers.
Coach education plays a key role in the development of club players and Clonmel Town have 30 qualified coaches working on a voluntary basis, ensuring best practices at all times.
All teams in the club have already seen the benefits of having an all weather pitch and it has allowed training and underage matches to go ahead despite the heavy rain over recent weeks.
As well as Clonmel Town players benefiting from the new pitch, the wider community will also be able to use the facility when it is not being used by club sides.
Speaking at a recent fundraiser, which was a club race night held at The Local Bar, committee member and former chairman Richie Blanche said: "The new pitch should really benefit the club long term, as it means all our teams can continue to train despite the weather conditions, and it will continue to give kids and older players the chance to improve their skills and play a brand of passing football - something I'm a big fan of!
"I remember training in Carroll’s field and in the Showgrounds in the dark during my playing days with the club, and in the very depths of winter you would struggle to find a blade of grass in the Showgrounds due to wear and tear and the usual Irish weather. I would have loved a training facility like the new all weather surface when I was a player.”
Clonmel Town secretary Tony Scully commented: "The all-weather facility is another major development in the long history of Clonmel Town FC and we are delighted to be able to upgrade the surface and provide our players and the wider community with a pitch suitable for all playing conditions. It is a result of our club members and the local community pulling together to allow us to produce a state of the art playing surface.
"Since the construction of our all weather facility in 2005, our playing membership has increased across all levels and we now have over 400 players playing football every weekend. We hope the new surface will benefit all of our players and the general public.”
"I would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen and we are delighted to have produced such a fantastic sporting facility within our community for future generations to come."
The pitch is made up of a number of layers which consist of a hardcore rock foundation, and artificial grass carpet, which is then filled with a mix of rubber-crumb and sand that allows for optimal playing conditions. The pitch has an expected lifespan of 10 years before it will need to be upgraded.