Glanmire develop facilities to cater for fastest growing club in Ireland

Over 500 ladies footballers will play across 17 teams this summer 
Glanmire develop facilities to cater for fastest growing club in Ireland

Ryan’s SuperValu have become the main sponsor of Glanmire Ladies Football Club. Included are Liam Ryan of Ryan's SuperValu; Abbie O'Mahony (front) , Glanmire and Cork Ladies footballer and Brian Lotty (right), chairman of Glanmire Ladies Football Club along with club membes. Also included are Stephen Goggin (back left) and Jason O'Callaghan (back right, both of Ryan's SuperValu. Picture: Brian Lougheed

THE very progressive East Cork GAA club Glanmire LGFA are looking to the future and the prospect of developing their own playing facilities.

Glanmire are one of the fastest-growing ladies football clubs in the country and dealing with a substantial increase in membership with each passing season.

Little surprise then, that the progressive LGFA club requires access to adequate playing facilities to meet that demand.

Thankfully, Glanmire GAA has long been a tremendous partner to the ladies football club. Granting access to pitches for matches and training sessions allied with a willingness to put their shoulder to the wheel and help out is, and always has been, greatly appreciated by Glanmire LGFA.

“We will have in the region of 500 members by the middle of July this year,” Glanmire LGFA President and chairperson Brian Lotty informed The Echo.

“The LGFA Association is relatively new compared to its GAA equivalent so all ladies football clubs, like ourselves, are dependent on the men and boys club facilities. In Glanmire, both the boys and girls clubs have been growing exponentially because of all the houses built in the area over the past 30 years. 

So, the pressure is on both clubs in terms of getting access to playing facilities.”

Looking to the future, it is clear the East Cork LGFA club will require a playing facility of their own.

To achieve that goal, Glanmire needs a combination of political, financial and local support. Identifying, purchasing and developing land to build a new home for Glanmire LGFA would be a long-term project but a new playing facility may quickly become a necessity for a club the size of Glanmire.

What might complicate any such development is the fact so many building works are already underway in the surrounding area.

Finding fields that are for sale is hard enough, not to mention converting agricultural land into use for leisure activities.

“If it was a possibility, that we could acquire pitches of our own, our own land, yes it would make life a lot easier for the club’s long-term future,” Lotty said.

“Our search for any new grounds would have to be a long-term plan. People in Glanmire have always been very generous and never found wanting when it came to fundraising for any GAA developments in the past.

“There is and always has been a good gaelic games following in the local area.

“We are definitely going to become a much bigger club as the years go on. Right now, we have 45 U11s and 11 U10s so we are looking at fielding six U12 teams next year.

That would be more than any other club in the county and where we are dependent on the county board to provide competitions for all those girls.

“It is definitely a big undertaking but we will need those facilities for any new girls that want to sign up with us in the future. There could be options to lease, but if we could purchase our own land, that would be the best deal, long-term.”

LOCAL BACKING

This is no ordinary ladies football club, however, and if anyone could drum up necessary political and local support, it is Glanmire. Only recently did Liam Ryan and Ryan’s SuperValu Glanmire ink a three-year sponsorship deal with the club.

That significant investment incorporates new jerseys, training gear and various accessories needed to keep a club the size of Glanmire LGFA going over the next three years.

On the pitch, the East Cork side were a whisker away from becoming a Cork LGFA senior club last year.

Yet, a young club, still only 21 years old, tasted All-Ireland LGFA junior glory as recently as 2018. Glanmire is a club on the rise and has its sights firmly fixed on promotion to the Cork senior grade.

“It was difficult enough back in the beginning with the numbers we had,” Brian Lotty concluded.

“Playing numbers have increased but Glanmire LGFA has a lot more people involved now.

Jenny Long and I were there at the very start back in 2000 when only a few of us were coaching. Now, we have between 70 and 80 mentors coaching the 17 teams our club is fielding this year.

“For the club’s future, and to be successful, you have to be looking at your facilities to keep these people involved. It is a challenge we are looking forward to.

“Our target is to become a top senior club and one day compete in an All-Ireland senior championship.”

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