Clontarf Rugby Club officially opened their brand new state-of-the-art 4G rugby pitch at their grounds in Castle Avenue last Saturday, ahead of their Ulster Bank League Division 1A match against Galwegians.
Clontarf’s new pitch, which was officially opened by Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and IRFU President Martin O’Sullivan, replaces the previous grass pitch which suffered heavily during the winter months from poor drainage and overuse.
The 4G pitch at Castle Avenue is made from the most up to date technologies and conforms to 2015 World Rugby playing surface standards. There are also training pods which run alongside the pitch which allow for additional training to take place. It was constructed over the summer months and has been in use since September.
The new facility will allow teams at all levels in the club to train regardless of the weather, and Clontarf hope this will lead to an increase participation numbers and offer young players the chance to improve their overall skills and enable them to progress to the next level of the sport.
All rugby sides in the club are already seeing the benefits of the improved surface, which has allowed training and matches to take go ahead despite the heavy rain over recent weeks.
As well as Clontarf players benefiting from the new pitch, the wider community will also be able to use the facility when it is not being used by club sides.
Speaking at the official opening of the pitch, Clontarf, Leinster and Ireland prop Cian Healy said: “The new pitch should really benefit the club long term, as it means there should be no more cancelled training sessions or matches and it will give kids and older players the chance to improve their skills and play a brand of running rugby – something I’m a big fan of!
“I remember playing on the old back pitch during my minis and youths days with Clontarf, and in the very depths of winter you would struggle to find a blade of grass on it due to wear and tear and the usual Irish weather.
“I just wish that such a facility as this was available when I was younger – and I’m sure my Mam does as well, as the amount of mud that she had to clean off my gear back in the days was mental!”
Clontarf Rugby Chairman Geoff Curran commented: “This new all-weather facility is the biggest development in the long history of Clontarf FC. It is a result of our club members and the local community pulling together to allow us to produce a state of the art playing surface.
“As a result, our playing membership has increased across all levels and we now have 700 Mini rugby players out playing rugby every weekend.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen and we are delighted to have produced such a fantastic sporting facility within our community for future generations to come.”
The pitch is made up of a number of layers which consist of a hardcore rock foundation, a rubber shock pad and artificial grass carpet, which is then filled with a mix of rubber-crumb and sand that allows for optimal playing conditions. The pitch has an expected lifespan of 10 years before it will need to be upgraded.