Ardfert's big plans for sports centre

Stephen Fernane

Plans to build a new multi-sports facility in Ardfert have taken a step closer fruition after an application for funding to the Sports Capital Grants scheme was made.

The new development, which will be situated at An Fearann in the village, will benefit generations of Ardfert people. Phase one of the sports facility will start in 2019 and will include the laying of a GAA pitch and development of a running/walking trail around the perimeter of the playing field.

The ground-breaking move is a joint effort involving local community organisations, namely: Ardfert Community Council, Ardfert Football Club, Ardfert/Kilmoyley Community Games, Ardfert Youth Club, Athletico Ardfert, and St Brendan's Athletics Club and St Brendan's Hurling Club.

"It's very ambitious and it's been full steam ahead since we acquired land for the site. It's really been since April of this year that we started working hard on the project," said Barbara O'Grady of Ardfert Community Council.

It's been announced that dressing rooms, a soccer pitch, sprint track, long jump and high jump facilities - as well as a full size sports hall - will form part of future phases of the project. The genesis of the project is a consultation process involving local sporting groups and the general public. The community is hopeful that the application will be successful.

Ms O'Grady said Ardfert needs a new facility as the current community centre is no longer big enough to meet the needs of the community. "We need a proper facility and while funding is a big issue, the Community Council is funding some of the initial pre-plan stages to help get them ready for submission.

"We'll be applying in a number of different phases. At the moment we've applied for funding for phase one," she added. The group anticipate a reply to their application for funds by the end of 2018. If successful, works will commence in spring 2019.