Killegland A.F.C: “We Need A Home”

Eoin Ryan

Killegland A.F.C currently has no training facility despite having up to 350 children playing for the local football club.

The club rents up to 6 facilities a year for any of their activities at a combined annual rental cost of 24,000 euro. Subscription fees are spent on rent opposed to equipment or development of our own facility and club members travel up to 20km for matches and training sessions.

It was established in 2011, starting out with 2 teams and expanding until 18 teams were playing during their 2018-2019 season. Despite this, they still lack a sports ground they can call their own.

Chairperson of Killegland A.F.C Ciaran Donnelly spoke on what the club hopes to achieve and how they have coped without a club grounds.

“When the club was first founded they tried to get some grounds within the Ashbourne area, but that fell through, it didn’t work out, so we rented some pitches at the Wards Cross which we still do today,” Ciaran Donnelly said.

Without a guaranteed place to train and plan events, this leaves the club “Geography wise and logistic wise we’re all over the place”

“We can develop everything in a manner that’s safe and progressive for the kids”

Boys and girls football teams are organised to represent the Ashbourne area in the Community Games every Summer. They hold the record for largest ‘Soccer Sisters’ programme in Ireland first all girls team in the Metropolitan Girls League (MGL). They were also the largest Jamie Carragher Summer camp in Europe with over 290 kids attending.

They renovated the old golf pitch and putt house and currently share with Ashbourne cricket club as a makeshift clubhouse.

“We can develop everything in a manner that’s safe and progressive for the kids”

“We’ve tiled the place, we put new floors into the place, we put two new toilets in, give it to us and we’ll look after it,” Killegland A.F.C member Aidan Conway said.

“I could say it’s hard but it’s not hard because of the people that are involved with the club,” Donelly said.

The club prioritise trying to get recognition and have been able to do that over the last 2 to 3 years, despite it being “a long slog to do that”.

Funds are more readily available with clubs that have their own ground because “When you have your own grounds, all the other grants generally follow.”

“We’ve got some small grants that have been really helpful to us over the last few years.”

“If we got land this week, I put my hand on my heart and ,say, within a month you would not recognise those grounds,” Aidan Conway said.

A ten year anniversary tournament was planned for club members, but restrictions prevented this and the event was cancelled.

Their reputation among the Ashbourne community combined with their simple message, “we need a home”, a club ground may be available to them in the coming years.

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