Over the past 48 hours, a spotlight has been shone on the lack of facilities for clubs within the League of Ireland.
Many clubs within the league are forced to train on sub-standard pitches due to the lack of funding. This creates barriers in allowing these clubs being able to afford owning their own training facilities.
While many junior soccer clubs are able to afford state-of-the-art artificial pitches due to receiving funding from the government as well as being backed by private institutions which stems from them being deeply engrained in the local community.
Speaking on the Football Show, Cobh Ramblers manager Shane Keegan discussed the lack of infrastructure within the League of Ireland and how this affects clubs with little to no funding.
‘It really is amazing,’ said Keegan. ‘The difference between a view of a local club against a League of Ireland club. You have that thing where the local club is a community club. Therefore, they are benefitting in two ways. Firstly, they can apply for various government funding, and that is readily accessible.’
‘Secondly, they can play on the community feel of getting local businesses behind them and putting money forward. If you look at League of Ireland clubs and look at them as a business, we don’t get that level of support at government level nor at a local level.’
‘My home town in Laois, we are a very small town with a very small club. We have it made! I was delighted this morning. The weather wasn’t great, but we have a fantastic little artificial pitch in our place. Clover United is the name of the club.’
‘We had a team come down from twenty minutes away, and we had twenty-four 8-year-olds playing, four, six a sides for an hour, and it was quality!’
‘If you compare that to down in Cobh, on Monday night, we train on the Stephen Ireland artificial pitches. We have to pay for that. On a Wednesday night, we train on the Mayfield artificial pitches.. We essentially have nothing of our own!’
‘Meanwhile, junior clubs are far, far better equipped. Even though our team is in Laois, we play in the Kilkenny league. There is a club in the league and they now have two full-sized artificial pitches. Two full-sized artificial pitches!’
‘They have a good bit of backing, but their facilities are amazing. The only team I can think of with better facilities is Shamrock Rovers!’
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