Astro-turf pitch is a 'new lease of life' for Athletic

Tadhg Evans

A host of high-profile football figures from the Killarney, county, and national scenes were in Woodlawn on Monday night as Killarney Athletic AFC celebrated the opening of its new astro-turf training facility, a development Chairman Michael O'Shea described as a new lease of life for the club.

Coming on the back of a €41,000 sports capital grant from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and a fund worth €40,000 from the FAI, the pitch was given its official welcome earlier this week.

This all happened in the company of figures such as Minister Brendan Griffin; Kerry Schoolboys/girls League Chairman Padraig Hartnett; Kerry District League Chairman Sean O'Keeffe; and FAI CEO John Delaney, underlining the significance of the occasion.

Kelly Brothers commenced work on the project in May of this year, and as of last Friday, the pitch was ready to go. Even on the night of the opening itself, Mr O'Shea explained that the pitch was being used for training.

"There's great excitement," he told The Kerryman. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity for the club after the funding of the last year and a half.

"I spoke first on the night, followed by Padraig Hartnett, Seán O'Keeffe, Minister Brendan Griffin, and then John Delaney, and it was a great occasion.

"It also protects the two grass pitches we already have here at the club. It means we don't have to use those pitches all the time during the winter and all that. Being honest, it's a new lease of life for us."