Bohemians return to Phoenix Park in new deal with the FAI

Bohemians return to Phoenix Park in new deal with the FAI
Bohemians President Matt Devaney (left) and Bohemians Youth Director Conor Emerson (right) at the Fifteen Acres site, Phoenix Park.

SSE Airtricity League club Bohemians are set to return to their historical home, Phoenix Park.

Having struggled to find a permanent home over recent years for their expanding schoolboy and Academy section, the FAI have agreed a deal with the club to use the Fifteen Acres facility for the foreseeable future.

In the early days of their existence, Bohemians used to play their matches at Phoenix Park but upon the move to Dalymount Park at the turn of the century, the club ceased using the site.

In recent years, the Leinster Senior League had leased Fifteen Acres but with the financial burden of the site on the league, the FAI stepped in and took over the lease.

Now, Bohemians will now see their school-boy sections play at Fifteen Acres having reached an agreement with the FAI and Bohemians President Matt Devaney believes the deal is integral to the future of the club.

Devaney said: "We needed to have a permanent base from which, we can grow our football club from. To have this on our door-step, it's a god-send for the club.

"We meet the FAI quite regularly and I happened to mention to Richard Fahey (FAI Director of Club Licensing and Facility Development) that we're struggling for pitches as we've doubled the amount of teams we operate over the last few years.

"Richard was able to speak to John Delaney and thankfully, we've been able to get this all important move.

"It's a great time for the under-age football in Ireland and it probably hasn't got the media coverage it's deserved. The changes to the under-age structure are a game-changer for Irish football, anyone in the SSE Airtricity League would acknowledge that."

There are up to 12 pitches that can be used at the facility and Bohemians are set to have their small-sided games (U8-U11) on Saturdays and their 11-a-side matches (U14 and U16) played on a Sunday.

Conor Emerson, the club's Youth Director, believes it is a hugely important step for the entire club and the growth of the under-age section.

Emerson said: "This is an important part of our history as we're rebuilding the youth section of the club.

"The SSE Airtricity League under-age structure is also a huge help to our under-age teams as we've been able to attract a certain standard of player.

"It won't be long until we can offer the full path-way right through to the first-team which is really exciting. Phoenix Park is such a beautiful location which is very much in our locality with 12 full-size pitches so it's ideal for the club to grow its youth section in."

FAI Director of Club Licensing and Facility Development, Richard Fahey said: "We're delighted to help Bohemians and facilitate their move to Phoenix Park.

"It is their historical home but importantly, with the expansion of their youth development and the Academy structures, myself and John Delaney believe it is vital to support their efforts in any way possible.

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