Kelly claims grant can lift Sligo to next level
SLIGO ROVERS chairman Dermot Kelly believes that the awarding of a €295,000 Sports Capital Grant to the League of Ireland champions is a "potential game changer in the history of the club."
The Bit O'Red will use the money to refurbish the all-weather facility at the Showgrounds, install a new grass training pitch and carry out work on their playing surface.
"The work will be completed within months and when it is done, the Showgrounds will have infrastructure and facilities, including the new €250,000 Railway End stand, to allow Sligo Rovers function and develop as a model community-based club for many years," said Kelly.
He extended his thanks to Minister for Sport Michael Ring, who has visited the Showgrounds on a number of occasions.
"In the same way that capital funding from the Department of Sport and Tourism has helped Connacht rugby to move to a new level, this grant aid allows Sligo Rovers to establish solid foundations as the principal soccer centre in Connacht and the North West," he added.
The Sligo grant is the largest of €1.2m awarded to regional football related capital projects involving the FAI. The Mayo League received €260,000, the Meath and District League €250,000, Mervue United €190,000, the AUL €133,000, the Galway and District League €60,000 and the Leinster Football League €24,000.
Certainly, Connacht fared well from the scheme, collecting €805,000 of the available finances.
Meanwhile, Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny has continued his recruitment drive for the 2013 campaign by signing midfielder Stephen O'Donnell from Shamrock Rovers and convincing goalkeeper Peter Cherrie to sign up for another year – following on from capturing ex-Celtic man Richie Towell earlier this week.
O'Donnell was the man who scored the penalty that booked the Hoops' place in the group stages of the Europa League in 2011, but he struggled with injuries last term when Kenny took over from Michael O'Neill.
The Galwegian is keen to link up with Kenny again, feeling that they share a similar philosophy on the game. "I'm very happy to be rejoining Stephen," he said.
"He allows players the freedom to express themselves and doesn't put any shackles on their ability. He lets them play – he wants players to pass the ball and doesn't get angry if sometimes you lose possession.
"I really want to come to Dundalk and re-establish myself as one of the best midfielders in the league."