Clonakilty RFC’s new pitch will be a game–changer

September 6th, 2022 11:30 AM

By Matthew Hurley

Pictured at the launch of Clonakilty RFC's new fundraising draw on Sunday were, from left, Justin Crowley (club president), Eoin Hurley (club chairman), Paddy McCarthy (Mayor of Clonakilty) and Rob Walsh (head of club fundraising). (Photo: Dave Sheehan)

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CLONAKILTY Rugby’s new 4G all-weather astro pitch will be a game-changer for the club and the local community.

Details of the club’s exciting new development were revealed at its launch on Sunday, including the big prizes in the fundraising draw.

First prize is a Volkswagen ID.4 electric car worth €55,000, second prize are two Orbea electric bikes worth €2,500 each, while third prize are two Audi electric scooters worth €1,000 each. Tickets cost €100 each and only 2,500 tickets will be sold. Tickets can be purchased at Fuchsia Footwear (Pearse St), Scannell’s Bar (Connolly St) and A Cut Above hairdressers (Rossa St). The draw will be held on New Year's Eve.

These are exciting times for Clonakilty RFC as it plans for the future. The club currently has over 800 members, with more than 600 underage members.

‘We’re expecting to see that number grow again this year based on our own projection on growth over the last few years,’ club membership officer Brian White explained.

‘Over a quarter of that number are girls. With the girls, it’s gone from basically zero five years ago to over 160 now, and it’s going to get even bigger.

‘The pressure that was coming on our training areas, particularly in winter, meant we’d be using everything from other facilities locally, even the beaches in Inchydoney for training of teams because of the sheer numbers. A lot of the training areas with grass are very hard to use in bad weather, so the all-weather pitch will really improve it for us.’

This new 4G all-weather astro pitch will have a transformative impact with the club, and it’s also an important step in Clon Rugby’s future too, to ensure it has the facilities to cater to the needs of its growing membership.

‘The original idea came because we were doing reviews of where the club was going,’ White said. ‘What was happening was our available training base became under increased pressure, especially in winter, so we decided that the best way forward is to have a strategic development plan, including floodlights on the main pitch, which are now being completed.

‘Despite all our grants and our savings, we saw a shortfall towards the target we will need to put into an adequate sized all-weather surface. We decided to proceed with a fundraising draw based around the theme around electric transport to separate it from all the other various draws going around.

‘We have significant grants towards this development already from Sports Ireland, we have a certain amount of our own resources towards it but obviously, to beat the shortfall we need to raise as much money as possible through this fundraiser.’

The hope is that work on the new pitch will begin in late spring of 2023. The new pitch will be built right behind the clubhouse. Exciting times for a club that nurtured the talents of current Munster Rugby players John Hodnett and Cian Hurley, who attended the fundraising launch on Sunday.

It’s not just the town of Clonakilty that will benefit from this exciting new project, explains Brian White.

‘The 4G surface ties into the community resource size of building more sports facilities within the Clonakilty area,’ he said.

‘The club covers not just Clonakilty town but Barryroe, Kilmeen, Ardfield, Rosscarbery. We have a very big hinterland and the population is growing all the time, particularly with families moving out with more working from home.

‘There are huge numbers of young families moving into the area and we feel it’s very important to develop youth sports facilities within Clonakilty, as well as securing the future of the rugby club, and its ability to develop and grow,’ he added.

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