Planning permission is expected to be lodged in September for a €10m FAI regional centre for soccer excellence in Co Cork.
While Cork County Council will almost certainly grant permission for the facility at Brooklodge, Glanmire, it may still be down to An Bord Pleanála to make the final decision.
The plan, which is being driven by the FAI in conjunction with FORAS — the co-operative which owns Cork City FC — is to develop 30.4 acres of county council-owned land into four full-size turf pitches, one full-size artificial pitch, six smaller artificial pitches, and two smaller turf pitches.
The development will also include a pavilion with a viewing area, a gymnasium, dressing rooms, a physiotherapy room, a medical room, a cafeteria, a kitchen, administration offices, and a meeting room for the local community.
FAI boss John Delaney credited soccer-mad senator John Gilroy with being one of the driving forces behind the project.
The senator, who lives in Glanmire, said he was anxious to develop the game locally and nationally.
“This is a perfect site for such a facility. We want to make Cork the centre of soccer in the Munster region where we have a population of around 1m people.”
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane, who was born a stone’s throw away in Mayfield, said “the best players and coaches need an environment in which to work effectively and achieve high levels of performance”.
Pat Lyons, chairman of the FORAS co-operative which took over running Cork City FC in 2010, said that for a number of years they had been looking to keep the club alive and sustainable by finding a training base.
FORAS has a short-term lease for training at Bishopstown, but needs a permanent home
“We will continue to play our matches at Turner’s Cross, but it [Glanmire] will become home to all our training. We will become the anchor tenants,” Mr Lyons said.
Sinn Féin councillor Ger Keohane said the development would be great for locals and youths from all over the Munster region.
He said the FAI will need to recruit groundsmen, cleaning and administration staff, while jobs will also be created as part of the centres’ construction.
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