SEVERAL sporting organisations in Kilkenny received an early Christmas present after the Government announced its list of grant winners, writes Trevor Spillane.
Several sectors of the county’s sports umbrella were covered by the announcement, which was made by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring. The Government earmarked E26 million for 615 new projects across Ireland through the 2012 Sports Capital Programme, the first of its kind in four years.
A combined application from a North Kilkenny community was the biggest recipient of grant funding.
A group comprised of Castlecomer Community School and the local athletic club, together with the St Martin’s camogie and Muckalee ladies Gaelic football clubs received a grant of E150,000.
Much of their project centres on the refurbishment of a running track at the school.
Not surprisingly, GAA clubs were the biggest beneficiaries in the county.
James Stephens, Clara, St Martin’s (Muckalee), Fenians (Johnstown), Lisdowney and Tullogher-Rosbercon earned E271,500 in grants between them.
The city club pocketed E90,000 which will be used to help the development of their new base on the Kells Road, with St Martin’s getting E80,000.
Others to benefit are soccer club Thomastown United, who will get a windfall of E80,000 to help with their ongoing development at United Park. One of the most organised clubs in the county, the club has four pitches, two floodlit all-weather pitches and a training area.
In 2010 the club purchased additional land to facilitate the re-positioning of two proposed sand-based pitches and a full size all-weather pitch. These developments, when completed, will enable the club to achieve the FAI standard for Regional Centre of Excellence status.
Soccer in Ferrybank will also get a boost. Although they play in the Waterford league, Ferrybank AFC were allocated E55,000 when included in the Kilkenny section of applicants, the money going towards the provision of extra dressing-rooms in their clubhouse, a necessity given the growth in numbers of schools players joining over the last couple of years.
Other local sporting organisations who have tasted international success benefitted from the grants. Among them are the Thomastown Paddlers canoeing club who, in the Summer, were represented by Michael Brennan and Cait Broderick on Irish squads at international competitions.
The club, who recently moved into a new base on the banks of the Nore, were given E8,000.
Interestingly, the lowest amount of funding went to the only club on the list with an Olympian in their ranks. Paulstown Boxing Club, who sent Darren O’Neill to the Summer games in London, were allocated E4,000.
In all Kilkenny received close to E600,000 in funding through the programme. Money was allocated to counties on a per-capita basis.
Of the five counties in the South-East Kilkenny received the third highest level of funding - Wexford (E905,825) earned the most followed by Tipperary (E854,623) - and marginally more than Waterford, whose population is 20,000 greater.
A total of 2,170 applications were received by the Department of Transport, Sport and Tourism, the highest number in the programme’s history.
“These allocations will benefit people in every county by giving them more opportunities to get involved in sport, whatever their ability,” said Minister Ring. “This funding will allow a diverse array of sports clubs and groups to build and improve much-needed facilities.”
Kilkenny recipients: Castlecomer Community School/Castlecomer AC/St Martin’s Camogie/Muckalee Ladies Football - E150,000; Clara GAA club - E70,000; Fenians GAA club - E7,500; Ferrybank FC - E55,000; James Stephens GAA club - E90,000; Kilkenny Basketball board - E18,277; Lisdowney GAA club - E12,000; Paulstown Boxing Club - E4,000; Spokesports - E10,000; St Martin’s GAA club - E80,000; Thomastown Paddlers Canoe club - E8,000; Thomastown United AFC - E80,000; Tullogher-Rosbercon GAA club - E12,000.