THEIR Centenary Year may still be eight years away but the members of Bride Rovers GAA club are ensuring that when the time comes their complex in Rathcormac will be one of the best around.
Huge strides have been taken already over the past number of years and today the club boasts of top of the range facilities.
However, the grass won’t be growing under their feet for many a long day yet and improvements to the complex continue to be the order of the day.
In the past five years or so, over €500,000 has been spent on its upgrade and the plan is to spend a lot more on the continuation of that upgrade.
In the past few years, a club of 100 members was formed with the aim of raising finance for present and future projects.
Those members now numbering well in excess of 100 contribute to the County Board draw, the club lotto and their own monthly contribution.
Club official and one of the main driving forces behind every project on the premises, John Arnold takes up the story for the Echo.
“Already we have been able to do quite a lot with our grounds here in Rathcormac but it’s an ongoing project.
“We have installed two astro pitches, we have put up very strong fencing around the pitch and recently we put in a seating area for 150 people with the plan for more.
“We will have a new juvenile pitch completed by the end of this year and we will be upgrading our dressing rooms and toilets.
“We also intend to develop a portable building which we purchased and which will provide us with kitchen facilities and well be capable of holding 200 people.
“We have installed a gym in one of our meeting rooms and we also plan to upgrade a second field, known as Pyne’s Field which we have leased now for a while."
Arnold told the Echo that all of this was necessary to cater for the ever-growing membership in the thriving East Cork club.
“Absolutely, in this day and age you just have to have the proper facilities to attract new members. If you don’t have them they won’t come here.
“Currently, we have around 350 male playing members from U8 up, we’d have 150 or so ladies members in the same bracket and we’d have 150 club members outside of those, that a lot of members.
“We are catering for 42 different teams in the club, from schools level right up to the senior hurling team.
“The club was founded in 1928 and in eight years time we will celebrate the Centenary Year. By early 1984 we paid off a debt of £35,000 which covered the purchase and development of the pitch.
“In May of that year we signed a contract for £22,000 with Brideview Homes to build four dressing rooms.
“That was some of the initial outlay and a lot of money has been generated and spent since and that will continue to be the case going forward.
“Of course, we could not do any of this without the great generosity of our members down the year, the club officers who work tirelessly to oversee everything, grounds committee and so on.
“Our aim is to spend around another €300,000 to €400,000 in the next few years in ensuring that our facilities will be the best they can be for our members."
And hosting major championship games will be something that they will continue to do when afforded the opportunity.
“Of course, that raises the profile of any club and we’d be hoping to get a few games too over the coming months when there will be great demand on pitches everywhere."
And on the upcoming SHC in Cork?
"We are in a tough group, ourselves, Fr O’Neill’s, Kilworth and Ballymartle, nothing easy there and with just two teams making it through now to the knockout stages, it’s much harder.
“There’s a big East Cork derby in there, the game against Kilworth will be local enough as well so we are looking forward to all the games and hoping to be one of the two that will reach the knockout stages."