From Gerald Wren’s field in 1973 to the launch of the Castleisland Soccer Club / Castleisland Community College All-Weather Pitch proposals on Monday evening is one hell of a journey.
One local man has taken every laborious step from back there to out here.
Georgie O’Callaghan is 44 years on that road and his joy at seeing plans and proposals on paper at the launch was palpable.
Level Playing Pitches
Georgie’s intimate knowledge of level playing pitches in the Castleisland area has no equal. He has sent teams out in immaculate strips on pitches from Ballymacadam, Tonbwee, The Canon’s Field and, ironically, on the very site of the now proposed all-weather artificial turf pitch between the back of the community college and the river walk.
It was a constant struggle to find a home with any kind of permanence for his teams and to accommodate the busy playing schedules down through the years.
And yet he managed to produce teams which won major trophies and individuals who went for trials cross channel.
Georgie is well got by the likes of FAI Chief Executive, John Delaney and he has been down here with Republic of Ireland manager, Martin O’Neill on medal presentation duties.
Georgie described Monday evening’s historic event as ‘a dream coming true’ but added “I hope it will happen now,” – with the caution of a man who has spent all this time waiting for that dream to come to fruition.
Health Promoting School
Castleisland Community College Principal, Carmel Kelly said that, as a Health Promoting School, the well-being of their students is their foremost concern.
“The pitch will be of great benefit to all Junior Cycle and Senior Physical Education classes in the school. Our students will have full use of the pitch before school, every lunchtime and after school, in addition to their PE classes, games training and coaching sessions. The full Junior Cycle and Senior Physical Education Curriculum will avail of the pitch on a daily basis,” said Ms. Kelly.
There is an energetic committee built around Castleisland AFC these days with a remarkable record of achievement to its credit.
Teams from the club have been featuring in and winning prestigious competitions and trophies and there have been many great celebratory occasions around Tom McCarthy’s in recent years.
Monday evening’s press launch had a historic, something happening, kind of feel to it. It marked what is hoped is a midway point in this project. Negotiations have been ongoing since January 2016. If the funding situation goes as it should the combined hopes of the club and the college is that the summer of 2018 would see sporting action on an all weather, level playing pitch.
Public Information Session on February 16th
There will be a public information session on the project between 8pm and 9pm at the River Island Hotel on Thursday, February 16th and all aspects of the project will be discussed and questions answered.
Fundraising initiatives, including a Lip Synch Battle, are at the planning stages now.
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