AS all clubs get back to some sense of normality, we can all look forward to the new season ahead.
Having caught up with Crosshaven chairman Stephen Kiely, here he tells us about the effect Covid has had on the club but the positive impact their newly built astro-pitch has brought to the club and community.
“Like the majority of the clubs, we have had our doors closed for over three months which has been a huge set back on and off the pitch,” said Kiely.
“We are currently getting back to normal and it was great being able to hold two committee meetings recently outdoors while we also postponed our AGM from June until early August.
“We are also recently back doing our weekly Lotto draw which is very important in supporting the club and being able to pay off funds for our all-weather.
"With the situation over the virus, we had this weekly draw suspended for 14 weeks which was a massive blow to the club.
“With regards to our newly built astro, we are very proud of the facility. We recently developed our bottom pitch into a full astro. The pitch is at a playing level but the project is still ongoing in which we hope to install floodlights in September. We also have some tidying up around the grounds as part of the project so we hope to have everything fully complete by October.”
For many clubs, the need to get players back on the pitch was vital and for Kiely having the resumption of training has brought a huge lift to everybody.
“We have been happy to get back training recently with the different protocols in place. It was a major loss to everyone involved in the club and community not to have football played on a regular basis.
"Kids need to be doing some sort of activity so to be back playing is a huge lift for everyone. It is great to see a hive of activity once again around the club.
“Our junior side are back training and will be hoping to have a better season than last year on the pitch having now gotten a second chance up Junior Premier.
"With new management and lots of youth there should be a bright future for this area of the club. Our junior side have also secured a mentor from the FAI in which he will be overseeing training sessions while also helping in the structure of training which all age groups will benefit from.
“At Cork Youth League level we are currently looking at entering an U17s and U18s side this season which is massive for us a club. This will be the first time in many years that we will have two ages groups in the CYL."
At schoolboys league level they will be competing from every age group right up to U15s.
"Unfortunately we have not enough numbers to have an U16s team.
“Also this season for our academy level we will be teaming up with Coever coaching. They will be getting heavily involved with age groups from U7s-U11s."
With the population of Crosshaven growing, they are looking for more volunteers to get involved with coaching young lads.
"New volunteers are always welcome and always needed in order to keep the progression and development of the club.
“As mentioned above we are currently looking at finishing a huge development of a flood lite full size all weather. This project has been on the card since late 2016 when one of our committee members brought forward how we need more space for training.
"While also with games being called off we need to put something in place for the future of kids in the locality. We looked at different options including expanding a small astro we have but after looking at different options we were swung towards transforming our lower pitch into a first-class all-weather pitch and it is great to see the hard work come to fruition.
“This all started as a dream but through a huge effort behind the scenes from committee members and a few good friends of the club, this was made possible. I won't get into mentioning names in case I leave someone out. But this project was only possible by the planning and preparation of the project.
"The dedication for several people to push our weekly Lotto draw and expand this on a weekly basis. While also the great support from a few individuals involved in securing grants for the club (which over two years got us €160K towards the project).
“Between our fundraising and grants, we were still short for the project. So we are grateful for Clann Credo, who we secured the balance for the project. We will continue with our efforts to pay for these projects over the coming years while also looking forward to another development down the line."
“After altering the design several times while we wanted to make sure there were no corners cut we were able to come to an agreement and start works which cost in the region of €640,000 from start to finish. We did a tender process and came to a conclusion the HSD contractors were the best with our project. Eoin and James along with their crew have so far delivered a top class setup. We are looking forward to enjoying some top-class games on our new facility for the coming season.”