IT has been an incredible week for Bandon Athletic Club.
At last Sunday night’s Celtic Ross Hotel West Cork Sports Star Awards three club members were honoured – star sprinter Phil Healy won the Sports Star of the Year Award, rising star Nicola Tuthill accepted the Junior Sports Star Award and one of the club’s founding members, Billy Good, entered the Hall of Fame.
There was more good news, too, when Bandon AC announced that they have purchased an eight-acre site at Clancoolbeg just outside Bandon and have been granted full planning permission for the development of a 400-metre all-weather track, a field events area and an indoor training facility.
‘This is a huge step forward for the club and massive vote of confidence by the club in the talent within Bandon and the wider West Cork athletics community,’ Bandon AC chairman Patrick McSweeney explains.
Work at the site is expected to commence shortly and it’s hoped that the all-weather track will be installed in 2022.
‘The timeline for the development of the indoor training area will be determined by various fundraising activities the club will be undertaking as well as grant allocations received. The indoor area, as well as having space for sprints and long distance, will also include jumps and throws areas,’ McSweeney says.
‘This development, unlike the majority of other all-weather tracks in this country, will be owned and controlled by the club.
‘Bandon AC, for the last numbers of years, has been one of the largest juvenile clubs affiliated to Athletics Ireland, but due to lack of access to our own facilities it has not always been able to accept members and we frequently have a waiting list. Once this development is complete, the club's expectations would be that it can eradicate waiting lists.’
Chairman Patrick McSweeney adds: ‘Bandon AC, which already has great working relationships with local schools and organisations such as Bandon Special Olympics and West Cork Athletics, is looking forward to working even more closely with these schools, groups once the development is ready. This is a development which will greatly enhance the wider community and the athletics scene in West Cork.’
The Bandon AC chairman also thanked a number of people who have played a large role in this exciting development for the club – Billy Good, the Track Development sub-committee including Michael Weldon, Paul Kingston, Michael McKeown, David Gibson and Una Hutchinson, and landowner Liam Crowley.