Ballymartle building new astro facility to cater for young players in Riverstick

Pitch will be available for Sliabh Rua underage and camogie teams as well as Ballymartle's adult sides
Ballymartle building new astro facility to cater for young players in Riverstick

Youghal taking on Sliabh Rua at U8 level. Picture: Larry Cummins

BALLYMARTLE GAA Club has embarked on a fundraising campaign to raise funds to build an astroturf pitch adjacent to their current facilities in Riverstick.

This new facility will cost an estimated €350,000 to build. €150,000 was secured through the Sports Capital Grant in 2021, while the club is aiming to raise the €200,000 shortfall over the next year to cover the costs associated with building the astroturf pitch.

The chairman of the finance committee John Kelly said they have received a ‘phenomenal’ response so far in their locality to the fundraising campaign. 

“We have started with donations from members, supporters, and friends of the club. We are getting a phenomenal response. People are being extremely supportive and generous. 

"It was also great to get a generous sports capital grant. It exceeded expectations. That gave us confidence that the task wasn’t as big as first feared and that has propelled us on. 

"We are off to a great start,” he said.

“It is a small area. We might have 600 houses in the locality,” the club official said. 

There is a great community spirit here and there has always been a great support for the club down through the years. We have always been a progressive club. 

"The club provides great facilities which are greatly appreciated by all within the community. People know that future generations will benefit from adding to our existing facilities.

“We built a massive community centre in 1989 when nobody had anything like it. We built a new pitch development in 1998. We then went to an all-weather base pitch and then a floodlight pitch. 

Ballymartle's Dan Dwyer pulls away from Valley Rovers Johnny Kiely during the SE JAHC final in Ballinhassig. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Ballymartle's Dan Dwyer pulls away from Valley Rovers Johnny Kiely during the SE JAHC final in Ballinhassig. Picture: Howard Crowdy

"A lot of clubs in the South East don’t have a floodlight pitch and sand base for the winter. We have great facilities. This is the last stepping stone in terms of developing the existing land that is there."


Kelly acknowledged it is important to keep improving their facilities to cater for the young players in the locality. 

“It is important to cater for the young players in the club and the future generations. The GAA has a lot of competition in terms of rugby and soccer, so we need to keep the people with us. 

We plan to complete one astroturf pitch that is adjacent to the main pitch. It will be the minimum size for a U12 pitch so we are hoping to potentially hold a few U12 games there if needed. 

"It will be available to Ballymartle GAA, Sliabh Rua GAA Club, and Sliabh Rua Camogie.” 

The ambitious GAA club hopes to commence work on the project in the second quarter of 2023 said the chairman of the finance committee. 

“We can start work as it is an evolving process. We went out for tender recently and we are hoping to award a contract before Christmas. Depending on who gets it and their availability to start, we hope to commence work in the second quarter of next year. 

"The whole project is scheduled to take ten weeks which isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things. It is a very quick project. We are hoping to have it completed by next September. 

"This facility would be brilliant for all the club members, players, and members of the community.” 

Ballymartle GAA Club also plans to hold an online draw with tickets to a sporting event and target local businesses in the area to come on board in the form of sponsorship to raise funds. 

“We are just finialising prizes with regards to the online draw. A few GAA clubs are doing similar initiatives and we are waiting to get a sense of what is working. 

"There is a great committee driving the club on and involved in this fundraising venture. What inspires us is that other people have embarked on similar initiatives and enjoyed success, so they have passed the mantle on to us. 

"That is a great driver. We are always striving to drive things on.” 

Commenting on the development club chairman Don Lordan said: “We are aware this is an ambitious plan given the current cost of living challenges. However, this club has always received terrific support in the past, you must only look at the current facilities we enjoy debt-free today.

“We are confident we will hit these targets over the next year, giving our members and teams of today, tomorrow, and into the future a top-class facility where they can enjoy our games all year round,” he added.

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