23 Jan 2022

Offaly community aims to raise €150,000 for new astroturf

Offaly community aims to raise €150,000 for new astroturf

File photo

A local community has launched a fundraising drive in a bid to raise in the region of €150,000 for a major new sporting facility.

The community of Ballinahown, on the Westmeath/Offaly border, is in the process of developing a state of the art all-weather Astroturf complex. The new multi-games facility will include a 40x70m fully-lit Astroturf pitch and hurling wall.

It will be located at the rear of St Colmcille’s National School on land leased from the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.

The astroturf complex is adjacent to Ballinahown Sports Park and will enhance the facilities already on offer, which include playing fields, buildings and a fully lit walking track. Planning permission for the facility was granted last October.

The volunteer committee has already secured LEADER funding towards the project but needs to raise significant money locally and is hoping to draw on the support of past pupils of the national school to help make the project a reality.

In a bid to raise part of these funds, the committee has launched a monster prize draw with a total prize fund of over €10,000, including a top prize of a €6,000 voucher for Heavins Topline & Euronics, Athlone. The committee is grateful to Heavins Topline & Euronics, Athlone,  Silver Line Cruisers, Banagher and the Hodson Bay Group of Hotels for their sponsorship of the top three prizes. Paul and Derek Heavin also helped out in promoting the draw with a quirky video, which can be viewed on the website below.

Tickets for the prize draw, which will take place in the autumn, can be purchased on or from committee members locally. Tickets are priced at €20 each or €100 for a book of six.

The project is being led by St Colmcille’s Sportspark, Ballinahown, with a number of volunteers from across the community working hard to bring it to fruition. The community is now reaching out to ex-pats for help in financing the construction of the facility.

Secretary of St Colmcille’s Sportspark, Ballinahown, Denis Rohan said: “We would especially appeal to our friends from Ballinahown, Doon, Castledaly and Clonfanlough who have moved to other parts of Ireland and the world to support the project and help to keep the community vibrant.

“The community of Ballinahown has a long association with sports. Over the years it can proudly claim to have produced local, national and world champions across a number of sporting disciplines including Gaelic football, hurling, rugby, soccer, athletics, golf and cycling,” he added. “These fantastic achievements were realised thanks, in no small part, to the excellent facilities and support provided over the years by local sporting organisations.

“We hope that this new state of the art facility, which will be available for use by all local clubs adjacent to the village of Ballinahown, will help our local clubs develop further and provide an ongoing supply of players,” he said.

“Covid-19 has shown us the importance of having easily accessible facilities close to hand that assist with our physical and mental wellbeing. We hope the new multi-games facility will enhance the amenities already available in Ballinahown and see us pass on a community to the next generation that is strong, vibrant and self-sustaining. We would welcome any support from our friends, at home and abroad, to help us achieve this goal,” added Mr Rohan.

He also thanked all those who have provided sponsorship for the project so far and to those who have contributed additional prizes for the draw which is scheduled for late September. Details of sponsorship opportunities are available on


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