A thriving sports complex which served as a nursery for some of Cork’s top sports stars will celebrate its 50th anniversary this week.
The John A Wood Sports and Social Club, which was founded in Ovens in 1962, has organised a series of events to mark the milestone. They will run until Sunday.
“When we first started, I never thought we’d make the 50th,” said long-serving sports and social club chairman Billy Webster.
“But the company has always been very good to us. They gave us the land on a long lease and now we have a fantastic amenity for the whole parish.”
Mr Webster worked for John A Wood when the club was founded in 1962.
It was originally for the exclusive use of company workers and their families.
However, over the years, facilities were developed and membership was extended to the wider community. In 1972, grounds were provided for club use by parent company John A Wood.
In the early days, the main emphasis was inter-firm GAA, soccer, and bowling, and GAA and soccer pitches were developed.
During the early to mid-70s, work started on a pitch and putt course and the clubhouse was built.
Today, the vast voluntary-run complex boasts:
* An 18-hole championship pitch and putt course;
* Five astroturf tennis courts;
* Three soccer pitches, including an all-weather pitch;
* A badminton court;
* An indoor sports hall;
* A fully licensed bar.
It is used by thousands of people every week, from U6 footballers to more mature pitch and putt players. Users come from several clubs including Lakewood Pitch and Putt Club, Lakewood Tennis Club, Lakewood Athletic Football Club, and Lakewood Badminton Club.
Mr Webster said Cork GAA stars Daniel Goulding and Paddy Kelly were among the many sports stars who got their first taste of competitive sport on its fields.
“What was once nothing more than a couple of fields and a disused cow shed serving as a clubhouse, it is now one of the country’s premier sports complexes,” said treasurer Cormac McCarthy.
“We would like as many of our members and friends to be a part of this celebration.”
He invited all employees and ex-employees, club members, and ex-members to attend.
* More details at www.jawoodsportsandsocial.com
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