Ladies Football in Waterford is to break ground in more ways than one with a purpose built facility near Dungarvan.
The Waterford Ladies Gaelic Football Association (WLGFA) created history by becoming the first county board in the sport to own their own grounds outright.
It is a landmark progression for the game and crucially the 11 acre site beside the Waterford Greenway at Ballinroad will be available for all all county and club teams in Waterford LGFA across all grades from early 2023.
Currently Ladies Football teams have to rely on the goodwill of GAA clubs and boards for use of their facilities.
Work on the project is expected to commence this summer and will consist of a state-of-the-art pitch with a stand, changing rooms, coach and car park and a full six lane running track around the perimeter of the pitch.
It is intended that the cost of the facility will be funded by the sale of nearby development lands from which the entire profit will be split 70% to the WLGFA and the remaining 30% to the local Kilgobinet GAA club.
Edel Curry, secretary of Waterford LGFA field development sub-committee said: “It is the intention of the Waterford Ladies Gaelic Football Association to provide a multifunctional playing and facilities development in what is a strategic location in the county.
"This will be the first such freehold facility nationally and we firmly believe that it will be a key driver for the greater development of the entire area in terms of sporting, social and economic advancement.
"Ladies Gaelic Football is the fastest growing sport in Ireland today and our facility will be the first of its kind. The youngsters who will benefit from this will be our stars of the future and hopefully bring continued All Ireland glory.
"The WLGFA Field Development sub-committee of John Frewen (Chairperson WLGFA), Paul Heffernan, Crohan McGregor, Mary O’Donnell, Michael Ryan, Jonathan Shaw and myself are so delighted to see this project finally come to fruition.”
John Frewen, Chairperson WLGFA said “WLGFA will be creating history by also being the first Ladies Gaelic football Association to own their own freehold and facilities. There are 21 ladies football clubs serving 2100 members and growing and we are so proud of this achievement and thankful to everyone who contributed to what will be an amazing state of the art facility. We are grateful to the owner of a nearby housing development site, known locally as the Duckspool site, who has made us the main beneficiary of its sale when it secures planning permission.
"The Waterford LGFA will receive 70% of the profit of this sale whilst the remaining 30% will be donated to Kilgobinet GAA club. It is hoped that the proposed housing development at Duckspool Dungarvan will be for housing comprising terraced, semi-detached and detached houses.”
Michelle Ryan, a former Waterford LGFA senior county team player said “I’m delighted to see that the plans for a Waterford LGFA pitch and training facility will soon come to fruition. It is a huge testament to the progressive vision & commitment of Waterford LGFA members, supporters and administrators. This will be a very valuable asset to Waterford LGFA moving forward as it will create a much-needed base that we can call our own. Such a facility can only further enhance the growth and development of all our adult and underage teams in the future.”