Sports

Exciting times ahead for Strabane Athletic

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Exciting times ahead for Strabane Athletic thumbnail An architectís impression of Strabane Athleticís proposed facilities that will include the first indoor full size 3G pitch in Ireland.

STRABANE Athletic's dream of playing Irish League football has taken a huge step forward following the recent announcement that the club has acquired land to develop its own sports facility.

Last week the club unveiled project plans that included a full size outdoor playing surface, as well as the creation of the first indoor full size 3G pitch in Ireland.

The project will also include conference and community facilities, a well-being hub with spectator areas, meeting spaces and changing and treatment rooms. Spearheading the delivery of the project will be the vastly experienced and award winning staff of Manor Architects, Moneymore.

“It will be the biggest thing to happen in Strabane from a football point of view in its history," said Athletic chairman, Seamus McElroy. "Strabane football has been around for generations, but it never had its own base.

“We are currently using council facilities, and though they are doing their own major development, it's time Strabane Athletic had a ground of their own to host major games."

 

New era

The new facilities will see the beginning of an exciting new era for sporting and youth development in the North West. Neighbouring primary and post-primary schools mean the location is well located with potential connection to the A5 Great Northern Link (Strabane Bypass). The project will also provide a jobs boost and economic growth to an area of historic depravity.

“This project will benefit the local community, the youth of today and future generations," said Seamus.

“It has been in the works for around four years. Obviously Strabane is a big enough town, and our ultimate aim when we were established in 2010 was to play Irish League football.

“A few years ago we had a good run in the Irish Cup where we were drawn at home to Ballinamallard. Because our facilities were not up to standard, we had to play them away.

“Players from Strabane of the best ability have always went to other clubs. In the past few years, players have went to Dergview, Derry City, Finn Harps and Institute. Those players, if they had have had a club in their own town, would have been playing at the highest standard in their hometown.

“Creating a facility like this, it's an environment where the club can be at the highest level, that's Irish League football. We'd love to be hosting Linfield, Portadown, Glenavon, Glentoran, clubs that have been in existence for a hundred-plus years.

"Our plan is to be hosting those matches in Strabane, and giving those players in Strabane the opportunity to compete in those games while playing for their local club."

 

Support

To help with the funding of the ambitious project, Strabane Athletic are now asking everyone to get behind their local club by purchasing one or more tickets for its grand draw for 2017, with a top prize of £25,000 on offer and £50,000 in total prize money. Ticket sellers will be going around areas in the town in January offering these tickets and they will be available from committee members.

To coincide with the exciting development, Athletic are also looking for people interested in helping out with administrative and coaching within the club as it launches its stimulating new coaching programme in January.

Work on the project is set to begin next year, with consultancy with residents and funders taking place in March.

“I'd love to start digging on the project by the end of 2017. The overall time-frame on the whole thing is five years," said Seamus. "It's a very promising time for the cub, but there is a lot of hard work ahead. We need our local community to get behind this, both financially and for man-power."

If you have the interest, time or expertise, get in touch with Seamus on 07745291397.

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