Plans to build a €600,000 artificial football pitch in Cobh have been submitted to Council planners. The Astroturf pitch, if given the green light by Cork County Council, will be located at Cobh Wanderers Old Church ground. The project forms part of a two phase scheme which will also see the potential development of 10 acres of Council owned land near Newtown Village.
Cobh4football, a consortium comprising of members from the 4 football clubs on the Island, has been investigating how to improve facilities for Cobh’s soccer mad youth since the beginning of the year.
The scheme will be funded through the Stephen Ireland Transfer Fund, along with Capital Grants and, if required, a bridging loan.
The land will remain in the ownership of Cobh Wanderers with a continuing Lease Agreement signed with Springfield Ramblers, Wanderers, Ramblers and Springfield Soccer Clubs.
The new facility will be operated by a group of Trustees made up of two Associates of each club and a number of independent members.
Annual running costs are estimated at €14,000, which will be recouped from rates paid by those who use the facility.
Until now soccer clubs in Cobh were operating independently in an area of 5 square kilometres, serving a population of 13,000.
With plans to increase housing on Great Island there are fears that children will have to travel to clubs outside the area.
Willie O’Hanlon, Child Protection Officer for Springfield Ramblers, said the Island’s clubs are “bursting at the seams,” and want to expand their grounds but they can’t.
He said if given the go ahead the project would take huge pressure off the clubs in Cobh.
Under Phase One of the scheme the new facility will include new flood lighting and modification to existing storm water drainage.
The group say the provision of year round use of a football pitch at the Cobh Wanders site will be of benefit to the local community, including local schools and sporting organisations.
Chairman of Cobh Wanderers, Frank McCall told the Cobh/Glanmire Municipal District that “Cobh is known as a garrison town and hence football has always been on the agenda, but we don’t have great soccer facilities when compared to other towns”
Phase Two of the project will see the development of a number of soccer pitches, and a training ground in Ballynoe, if Cllrs are successful in creating a master plan for a 57 acre Council owned site which has lain idle for over two decades.
Labour Cllr Cathal Rasmussen, welcoming the initiative, said “Cobh football has always been like politics, four different clubs going four different ways. This project is for everybody together, which is a first for Cobh football and must be commended.”
Fine Gael Cllr Sinead Sheppard said it is imperative that Council show their support for the project in any way they can.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy, a Republican Historian, also praised the group and said “being a garrison town, one of the major clubs was founded by an IRA and British soldier.”
“If that’s possible” he said“ anything is possible”.