Disappointing grant news for South Sligo AC
There was disappointing news for the South Sligo Athletics Club who had their grant application turned down by former Junior Minister Michael Ring recently.
The grant, which would have covered approximately €90,000, would have gone towards an Astro Turf winter facility at the Tubbercurry club.
Dr Alan Guckian, who coaches at the athletics club, expressed his disappointment in the decision.
He said: "It was a let down to hear our application had failed.
"The money would have gone a long way for us because at the moment the children have no dressing rooms to change in and we have to train on a pitch which is essentially a field."
He added: "We have about 400 kids at the club and maybe 30 or 40 percent of them are girls so this is particularly bad."
Despite having their application turned down, the club performed well in the Capital Sports Grant scoring system.
They received maximum marks in three of five categories.
This is something which shocked Dr Guckian.
He said: "I was surprised we got zero funding after we did so well in the scoring system.
"A lot of clubs were refused on technicalities but I put a lot of work into getting the application right so it just shows the scoring system doesn't do much for the Minister's decision."
The club's facilities are currently shared with the VEC but due to high rates, the athletes could have nowhere to train in 18 months.
Despite not getting the grant, the club will still pursue with the Astro Turf idea.
"We depend a lot on fundraising as a lot of clubs do but it is difficult with the current economic climate.
"We did a Cycle from the Aviva which raised €10,000 so that will go a long way to getting us started."
Despite the disappointment of being refused funding this year, Dr Guckian ensured the club has learned a lot from the process and will apply again next year.
He said: "This year was our first time trying so we might have been a bit naïve in some ways.
"We will treat it as a learning curve."