BLACKROCK groundsman, Cathal Browne, has transformed the GAA club’s grounds on Church Road.
The local man started with the club three years ago, as part of a greenskeeping-and-sports-turf management course at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa.
He loves his voluntary role. “It was great to get the opportunity to work for the club when I was in college. I emigrated to Australia and New Zealand after I finished college.
“I worked in many stadiums there, which was a great experience. When I moved home, earlier this year, I was asked would I take over the grounds in Blackrock. I was honoured to be given the responsibility."
The club, impressed by his passion, has given him carte blanche. He has thrived, his expertise and precision evident.
He takes great pride in his role. He has transformed the two pitches. His trained eye, sharp design work, and meticulousness have ensured the pitches were in sublime condition all year.
“They have been so supportive. The Blackrock committee have been a great help. They have let me get on with implementing my own ideas.
“I love the club. I take great pride in helping the club. I want the pitches to be in immaculate condition for all the players.
“I want the players to play in the best surface possible, which will help their game. The senior hurlers winning the county championship title was a great end to the playing season.”
Cathal, who still hurls with the Rockies, says: “It is great to give something back. I have great time for everyone involved with the club. Conor Hurley, who is the complex manager, has been very helpful.”
The club has great facilities for its growing membership, both at adult and underage level, and two very good playing pitches, thanks to the work of Cathal and his team.
The club has three astroturf pitches, a ball alley, and an indoor pitch.
One of the pitches is undergoing a major redevelopment.
“The back pitch is presently torn up. They are halfway through reconstructing a sand-based pitch. It will have automatic sprinklers.
“Hopefully, that will be completed by late next year. There is a good bit of maintenance work in the astroturf pitches.
“My immediate aim, over the winter, is to make sure the main pitch will be in top condition when the players resume training.”