Club Development History
While the Football Association of Ireland remain homeless and look enviously at the facility constructed by the GAA at Croke Park, some of those at the grass roots of the game in the country have forged ahead providing modern playing facilities and dressingrooms.
Bellurgan United, Rock Celtic and Quay Celtic have all developed their grounds in Bellurgan, Sandy Lane and Clancy Park to various degrees in recent years, but one club leads the way in this regard.
Although founded in 1976, Glenmuir United FC hadn’t a place to call home until they purchased land from Dundalk Urban District Council in 1994. Prior to that landmark purchase, the club relied on the good grace of their neighbours Dundalk Regional College (as it was then known) for playing facilities.
The bold move by the committee to purchase land from the local authority at the back of Glenwood looks a wise decision now as one surveys the facilities at Glenmuir Park, which is bordered by Rockfield Court, Glenwood, Dundalk Young Irelands GFC grounds and Woodville Manor.
Little over eight years ago the club’s young footballers from their Dundalk Schoolboy League teams were crouched side by side with committee members picking stones off the field as work commenced to lay two grass pitches.
Today, the club has dug up one of those pitches and replaced it with an all weather flood lit pitch, which can be viewed from the recently constructed clubhouse which accommodates four dressing rooms, referee changing room, shower facilities, store room and has a first floor which will be fitted out as a function room in time.
“A lot has happened over the past eight years when you think about it”, says Club Chairman, Ciaran Hand.
Taking the time to stand back and think about all that has been achieved however, isn’t a luxury Ciaran and his fellow committee members have enjoyed too often.
“As well as developing the ground we have had to keep the club going on the football field with teams in the Dundalk Schoolboys League, the Drogheda Schoolboys League and an adult team in the Meath and District League”.
First opened in Autumn 2008, the all weather floodlit pitch has proved to be a huge success and is well booked for the peak hours between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday to Friday. (There are some slots available vacancies during the week and on Saturdays and Sundays).
Although the pitch has proven a great success since opening it is important to emphasise that the club are in debt and the money generated by the pitch is used to finance the loan.
Developing the all weather pitch, clubrooms and ancilliary projects, such as hardcore filling for the car park, security fencing etc, was financed by various fundraising ventures and grant funding from a variety of sources including the National Lottery, FAI and Peace and Reconciliation.
All the work in getting the development up and running was carried out by volunteers, with Fra McCabe, George Flynn, Gerry Califf, Vincey Duffy and Ciaran Hand working on a development committee.
The pitch itself is 50 metres by 30 metres and can be divided into two smaller pitches of 25m x 30m and rates vary accordingly. It is €70 per hour for the full sized pitch which is large enough for a nine a side adult match, or ten a side under age. The five a side pitch is €50 per hour.
Obviously our own teams want to use the all weather pitch and every team has a time slot during the week. Our Meath and District League team train on it on Friday evenings and train on a grassed area covered by the lights midweek. Those who have played on the pitch have praised the quality of the surface which has more give in it than other artificial surfaces and doesn’t give the friction burns associated with such surfaces.
Beneath the grass surface there is a bed of rubber pellets which give the surface a cushion and which will be renewed every year.
When first opened in Autumn 2004 work was still ongoing in the clubrooms and the gas supply wasn’t connected to provide hot water for the showers. However as a short term solution the club have installed an oil tank to provide a welcome shower to players from the all weather pitch and indeed their own club players in Dublin and Meath & District League action.