Waterford women’s football association ‘first in Ireland’ to own lands

Site to include ‘state-of-the-art’ pitch, running track, spectator stand and car park

Waterford Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) have announced the acquisition of new grounds, which they say makes them them first women's county football team in Ireland to fully own their own lands.

The lands, a 4½-hectare (11-acre) site beside the Waterford Greenway on the edge of Dungarvan at Ballinroad, will include a "state-of-the-art" pitch, spectator stand, changing rooms, car park and a full six-lane running track around the perimeter of the pitch.

Work on the site - acquired after years of fundraising - is expected to begin this summer and will be completed by spring 2023.

It is intended that the full fit-out for the new county women’s football team facility will be funded by the sale of nearby development lands from which the entire profit will be split, with 70 per cent going to the Waterford LGFA and the remaining 30 per cent to the local Kilgobinet GAA club.

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The team said the facilities will be available for use to all county and club teams in the Waterford LGFA and will mean that county players will no longer have to travel to different GAA fields around the county, not knowing where their next training session will be on a weekly and even daily basis.

Enhance participation

Secretary of Waterford LGFA field development sub-committee, Edel Curry, said the site will be "the first such freehold facility nationally".

“We firmly believe that our project will greatly enhance the participation of all age categories in our sport and look forward to its immediate commencement. Ladies Gaelic football is the fastest growing sport in Ireland today and our facility will be the first of its kind,” she said.

Waterford LGFA chairman, John Frewen, said the club is "so proud of this amazing achievement".

“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,” Mr Frewen said.

“It is hoped that the proposed housing development at Duckspool, Dungarvan, will be for housing comprising terraced, semi-detached and detached houses.”

Former Waterford LGFA senior county player, Mary O’Donnell, who has four LGFA All-Stars, said the club is in a great position to “finally achieve the dreams of past and present players in owning their own Ladies Gaelic football pitch”.

“It will act as a centre for players to enhance their skills and maximise their potential. This project will mark an important milestone for females in sport and will greatly enhance participation in our national games,” she added.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times