FAI CEO says Baltimore Road grounds will host match inside 12 months
By Ger McCarthy
FAI CEO John Delaney has promised Skibbereen AFC a full youth international match following the association’s visit to the West Cork League club’s Baltimore Road facility.
Based in West Cork for their Festival of Football and AGM campaign, former internationals Ray Houghton and Richard Dunne were joined by current ladies international Roma McLaughlin as the FAI stopped off at the Baltimore Road ground to meet and greet a huge crowd of Skibbereen AFC players, supporters and well-wishers.
On arrival, the FAI were reminded of a promise to sanction a youth international on their previous visit to Skibbereen back in 2007. On this occasion, John Delaney took the opportunity to promise that an underage international would indeed go ahead in Skibbereen within the next 12 months. Should it come to pass, hosting such a high profile game would represent a fantastic boost for West Cork Schoolboys League football throughout the region.
‘We had girls and boys out on our Baltimore Road pitches ranging in age from U9 to U12 there to greet the FAI delegation when they arrived off their bus,’ Skibbereen AFC Treasurer Shane O’Neill told The Southern Star.
‘We had previously asked the FAI for a set of small-sided goals, which are not cheap. Thankfully, the FAI came through on those and we also received a cheque, like all the other clubs visited, for €2,000.
‘It was an extra-special day for our groundsman, Ollie McCarthy, who was honoured for all his years of dedicated hard work looking after our pitches. In fairness to John Delaney, the FAI CEO paid Ollie a lovely tribute by allowing him pick an upcoming international match of his choosing and the use of an FAI corporate box for himself and six of his friends.
‘To be fair to Ollie, he was absolutely delighted with the gesture, especially after having to tell the FAI they had parked their bus in the wrong spot!’
The FAI delegation was clearly impressed with Skibbereen’s Baltimore Road facility and appreciative of all the hard work that has gone into maintaining the facility’s pitches and changing rooms. Skibbereen used the occasion to announce plans for the club’s future investment in a new floodlit pitch.
‘We took the opportunity to show Tony Fitzgerald and John Delaney how we are utilising our current facilities in conjunction with the local athletics club, something the FAI were deeply appreciative of,’ O’Neill explained.
‘We showed plans of what we are going to do next, installing floodlights, enhancing our current training and warm-up area into a new sand-based pitch. The FAI stated they would give us a hand with that, whenever the time comes to putting our plans into practice.
‘Skibbereen AFC has decided against installing an all-weather (4G) pitch for a number of reasons but mainly because there are already two of those types of facility already here in the town.’