Sunday 25 August 2019

Sod is turned on Skerries Rugby Club's new all-weather pitch


Paul Byrne

It was a pivotal moment in the life of Skerries Rugby Club as the sod was turned on their new all-weather pitch, which is expected to be up and running by October.

The club has been thriving in recent years with the numbers coming through the gates at Holmpatrick increasing at all age levels but with those extra numbers come extra strain on the club and it was decided to develop a state of the art all-weather pitch facility located on the club's second pitch.

The aim was to provide a quality surface for training all year round which could also be used during the summer for rugby and non-rugby activities. Numerous fundraisers have been launched by the club over the last couple of years to make this dream a reality and on Saturday the club invited members of the community as well as local politicians, the Leinster Rugby Branch president, club sponsors as well as senior players and coaching staff to witness the turning of the sod.

This is the first of a three phase development plan for the club which also includes installing new floodlights on the second pitch as well as the development of Seawell Training Area. The all-weather pitch cost approximately €576,000 with almost €150,000 of that coming from a Sport's Capital Grant. The rest was made up from the club's own funds, an IRFU loan renewal, operating income as well as fundraising. The club's new pitch will be a massive boost for Skerries' 18 teams and 80 coaching volunteers who train at Holmpatrick five nights a week.

Skerries Rugby Club chairman Nick Heeney revealed that the aim is for the facility to be up and running by the end of October.

"Saturday was a big event in the life of Skerries Rugby Club with the turning of the sod on our new all-weather pitch in Holmpatrick. We were joined by many members and friends from the community to celebrate this pivotal moment in our club's history," stated Nick.

"Huge work has gone into fundraising over the past number of years and we were helped by members, sponsors plus a grant from the Sports Capital Scheme.

"Work is commencing immediately and, weather permitting, we hope to have the facility up and running by the end of October. Not alone will this be a huge addition to Skerries Rugby Club but it will become a key facility in the local community.

"We thank everyone for their support and look forward to completion of the new pitch," concluded Nick.

Meanwhile, Ashbourne's defence of their AIL Junior Cup will begin on October 26 at home against Galway side Creggs. Ashbourne will be looking to make it four in a row having dominated the competition in recent seasons.

The quarter-finals will take place on 19th November with the sem-finals scheduled for the 14th December. The 2019/20 Junior Cup Final will take place on the 25th January, 2020.

Fingal Independent