FAI plans €10m soccer centre of excellence in Cork

The FAI is planning to build a €10m centre for soccer excellence on the outskirts of Cork which will complement its national training centre in Abbotstown.

FAI chief executive John Delaney said his association, with the support of Foras, the co-operative which took over Cork City FC in 2010, has drafted a plan to build the centre on a 30.4-acre site at Brooklodge, Glanmire.

“We are looking for a 99-year lease on the land which is owned by Cork County Council. We have spoken to the council’s executive about the plan and they’ve favourably received it,” he said.

“I’m very much excited by it. There are three strands to this. Cork City FC will get a permanent training ground and pitches for its U19 and U17 teams. The facilities will also support the development of young players operating within the FAI’s regional squad structures and support the growth and development of football within the province. Local kids and clubs will also be able to use it.”

The move also has the backing of Roy Keane who said “for true potential to be developed, appropriate facilities are a prerequisite”.

“Nothing would please me more than to see high-quality players and coaches from Munster being provided with the best opportunity to achieve their potential,” he said.

The facilities will include four full-sized turf pitches, one full-sized artificial pitch, six smaller artificial pitches, and two smaller turf pitches.

The FAI also plans to build a pavilion with viewing area, gymnasium, dressing rooms, physiotherapy room, medical room, cafeteria, kitchen, administration offices and meeting room for the local community.

The FAI is also looking at the possibility of utilising it as a potential training camp base for teams competing in the UEFA Euro 2020, for which Ireland is hosting a minimum of four matches.

In conjunction with Ireland’s 2023 Rugby World Cup bid, the FAI would allow it to be used as training base for one of the competing teams.

“The hosting of one of the teams during the tournaments would leave a lasting legacy on the venue and the surrounding region,” said Mr Delaney.

He added that the FAI will open the Abbotstown centre next month, with plans for other centre in greater Leinster and Connacht/Ulster. It’s is hoped the Glanmire facility will be built within two years.

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