Welcoming the allocation of a €295,000 Sports Capital Grant that was announced last week by the Department of Sport and Tourism, Sligo Rovers Chairman Dermot Kelly described the funding as “a potential game changer in the history of the club.”
The funding will go towards refurbishing the all-weather facility at The Showgrounds and will significantly improve the playing surface. The planned development will also include a new grass training pitch at the Sligo venue.
Speaking about the planned development Mr Kelly said, “The work will be completed within months and when it is done, the Showgrounds will have infrastructure and facilities, including the new €250,000 Railway End stand to allow Sligo Rovers function and develop as a model community-based club for many years.”
Mr Kelly added, “The funding comes at a vital time and caps what has probably been the best year on and off the field in the history of Sligo Rovers because the club can now make solid medium and long-term plans.”
The chairman said the significant support at community and political level had helped to make a persuasive case for the Sligo Rovers application.
“The Minister for Sport, Michael Ring, visited the Showgrounds for a number of high-octane games and witnessed the passion the club generates in all corners of the region. Tony McLoughlin, a founding member of the club’s development committee, backed our application and the active support from all his fellow Oireachtas members, TD’s Minister John Perry, and Michael Colreavy, and Senators Imelda Henry, Susan O’Keeffe, Marc Mc Sharry, Paschal Mooney and Michael Comiskey also helped our case.”
Mr Kelly added that by winning the title this year, Sligo Rovers gave a boost to clubs outside the Dublin metropolitan area saying, ““The Sports Capital Grant is the perfect Christmas present for the volunteers and supporters who keep the club going through thick and thin.
“In the same way that capital funding from the Department of Sport and Tourism has helped Connacht Rugby to move to a new level, this grant aid allows Sligo Rovers to establish solid foundations as the principal soccer centre in Connacht and the North West. It is a new level of challenge but it is also a welcome new phase of opportunity and hopefully we can rise to it.”
The chairman paid tribute to Packie Lynch. Kevin Colreavy and Noel Scott for their work in meticulously preparing the club’s funding application and thanked the range of community groups and the wider football family who supported the proposal.