BY GER McCARTHY
THE FAI’s visit to Castletownkenneigh proved an historic occasion for West Cork League President John O’Callaghan and Castletown Celtic FC.
On a whistle-stop tour of West Cork clubs during last weekend’s Festival of Football campaign, FAI President Tony Fitzgerald and CEO John Delaney turned the first sod where Castletown Celtic’s new dressing-rooms will be built
‘We are 40 years on the go but Friday was the biggest day in the club’s history,’ Castletown stalwart and WCL President John O’Callaghan admitted.
‘I thought we’d never see the day that an FAI delegation would visit us. It was great to see Tony, Fitzgerald, John Delaney, Ray Houghton, Richard Dunne and all the others here in Castletown. It was unreal.
‘What was most satisfying was the fact such a huge crowd turned up and the whole community, including many other sporting clubs from around the area, came out to enjoy the occasion, some seeing our facilities for the very first time.’
A long list of dignitaries, councillors and ministers were in attendance as well as Cork City manager John Caulfield. Music and entertainment was provided on an afternoon a huge number of children got an opportunity to meet some of their Irish sporting heroes.
‘We have applications in with various bodies and organisations for funding towards building a dressing room and toilet facilities here at our home ground in Castletownkenneigh,’ O’Callaghan stated.
‘A portion of those required funds has already been secured but a lot more is needed to meet the full costings. We are confident enough that we might get the money we need but believe there is enough goodwill out there to make the project a success.
‘The new dressing rooms and toilets would make a massive difference not just to our club but to the whole surrounding area. We have enough grass area to make two pitches if we need to and it can be extended if needs be.
‘The potential for allowing our facility be used by a number of different sporting organisations means we could generate extra revenue in the future. That would help with our long term plans of installing floodlights, something for which we already have planning permission for and possibly an all-weather pitch as well.
‘We have never had an opportunity to build dressing rooms in the 25 years that we have been using the Castletownkenneigh pitch. The new buildings would represent as massive boost for our local area and all the different clubs that currently use the facility. The status the FAI’s visit has given us and the goodwill we have received since they came gives me great hope for the future.’