The club was formed back in 1968 but have always played away from home in their 54 year history
Blessington AFC held meetings during the week with Minister Simon Harris and Deputy Steven Matthews in an effort to secure facilities in Blessington for the growing club.
Formed in 1968, Blessington AFC currently has the use of two playing pitches and one training pitch at Crosschapel in County Kildare, and are desperate to find a location in the town.
Club Chairman Alan Moore said: “Blessington AFC has been in existence since 1968 up to 2022, and we have always been playing away from home. Now we really want to come home. We have been 54 years serving the community but we aren’t local to Blessington and that needs to change.”
The location of the grounds at Crosschapel also presents its own problems.
“It’s not ideal as you have to travel around 4km to get there. You have to go along the N81 and for kids that can be particularly dangerous. It’s too far for kids to cycle so we are reliant on their parents being able to transport them.
“All three pitches are also grass so if the weather is particularly bad then we can’t use them. We are bursting at the seams as a club with over 550 members, and we have over 20 underage teas and two senior teams. We need somewhere conveniently located in our namesake town and in our own county. For too long we have been stuck in a situation where we have no lands of our own.”
Following his meeting with Blessington AFC, Deputy Matthews vowed to support their search for appropriate facilities closer to the town.
He said: “The temporary nature of their current set up also excludes the club from many funding opportunities. West Wicklow has been poorly served with sports facilities over the years and I am working with Wicklow County Council and my Green Party colleague, Minister Catherine Martin on a proposal for a large multi sports facility to serve the district.
I envisage a facility providing playing pitches, running track, a pool and sports hall for indoor sports and community use. I expect a master plan to be drawn up taking into account the sporting requirements now and into the future for Blessington and the wider west Wicklow area.
“Blessington AFC is a very large club with a long history and great future ahead of them. The management committee, players, parents and supporters of this club deserve much better as do all the residents of west Wicklow and I am determined to see the area served with top class community sports facilities.”
Minister Harris also met with board members of Blessington AFC, along with Baltinglass Municipal District, to discuss the provision of a permanent site for the local club.
A number of new potential locations for the club have been noted, and Baltinglass Municipal District Council is to carry out a social audit of the required community facilities for Blessington in the years ahead, to include new sports facilities including grounds for Blessington AFC.
Minister Harris said: “It is important that the location of the club grounds is easily accessible to the town and family friendly. The club has drafted a detailed development plan and we discussed this with the Municipal Council. Blessington AFC can be assured of my wholehearted support as I work with the Club to deliver on the objectives of their development plan”