New All-Weather Pitch Officially Opened

Thu, Aug 20, 2015

Archive Reports, KDL News

New All Weather officially opened at Magnificent Mounthawk Park

Written by Murt Murphy,
Pictures by Tommy Naughton

Yet another historic night for Kerry soccer at Mounthawk Park on Wednesday evening when the €400,000 state of the art All-Weather pitch was officially opened, with a joint cutting of the ribbon by Republic of Ireland Manager Martin O’Neill and FAI CEO John Delaney . There was a nice turnout of the great and the good, with Mr Frank Hayes, Director of Corporate Affairs of our main sponsors, Denny’s present, along with Charlie McDonald, of Dominos Pizza , another sponsor also present. The officers of the Kerry District League, led by Chairman Sean O’Keeffe and secretary John O’Regan were also present , along with members of the Executive. Mr Graham Spring was representing his brother AJ, TD, and Michael Healy Rae also were in the audience as both had played leading roles in lobbying Minster Ring for the €200,000, that was needed to get the project over the line. Michael Farrell from Mondo Ltd who provided the surface and Kelly Brothers contractors, also attended along with representatives of clubs from all over the county and the two history making Schoolboy teams, The Kennedy Cup winners and Galway Cup winners.

The evening was compared by the KDL genial PRO Murt Murphy, who was impeccably dressed in a Magee suit and dickie bow for the occasion, which put some of his jealous Board members to shame.

The evening started with a visit to the new All-Weather Pitch and the ceremonial cutting of the tape by John Delaney and Martin O’Neill.

Chairman Sean O’Keeffe then welcomed all the guests and outlined how the project had come about and how much it cost as well as thanks all who played a part in getting the Project completed.

The Chairman went on “ This new all- weather pitch will add to the facilities which has seen a total of €400,000 invested on improvements to the grounds. The Kerry District League is now the envy of every other League in Ireland to now have these facilities available to the clubs and players across the Kingdom of Kerry.

Martin O’Neill visited Mounthawk Park back in March 2014 to lobby for funding to complete the pitch and in a little over twelve months thanks to a government grant of €200,000 the project has been finished and is fully in use and we thank him for his support and the fact that he travelled here this evening to perform the official opening.

The project to install the new pitch commenced in April 2015 and was completed in ideal weather conditions by Kelly Brothers from Ballydesmond in a little under twelve weeks. I would like them for their work and diligence in getting the project completed in time. To enhance the grounds a new security system has been commissioned so that no repeat of the damaged caused to the plant and machinery during construction will hopefully happen in future.

These are good times for Kerry soccer with the proposed entry to the national u-17 league in 2016 and so impressed were the FAI delegation that is very possible that some form of International football for Tralee and Mounthawk Park is on the horizon. It also great to see our Kennedy Cup team and Galway Cup teams here and their managements and parents as they made history in winning for the first time and they are the future of Kerry soccer.

I would also like to thanks Mr Frank Hayes, Director of Corporate Affairs at Dennys – who are our main sponsors and Frank has been a great friend as well as a sponsor to the League. I would like to thank Charles McDonald of Domino’s Pizza who are also great supporters of the KDL and he also has brought pizza’s, with him tonight.! This Pitch will mean a lot to Kerry soccer and it continued growth and progression and it would not be happening, only for the work put in by John O’Regan, our secretary, who has led this project, drove it on and kept an eye on its progress throughout. Without John, we would not have these wonderful facilities at Mounthawk Park, so he must take a lot of the credit. I would also like to thank Geraldine Nagle, our Children’s Officer and her daughter Tara, who worked so hard in getting the clubhouse to such a spic and span state, but she did have a fall, but after a photograph with Martin, she appears to have made a miraculous recovery!! “

Mr Frank Hayes spoke in glowing terms of the League and praised John O’Regan and Sean O’Keeffe for the work they put in “ I don’t think there is a harder working volunteer in any organization, anywhere in the country, than John O’Regan and Mounthawk Park would not be such a wonderful facility to have for Kerry soccer but for John and I can see Dennys , being involved for many years into the future “

FAI CEO , John Delaney related how he grew up in Kerry when he worked here in the nineties, played soccer with Tralee Celtic , whom he helped to found, has a house in Tralee and comes to Kerry as often he can. He said he was delighted to help out in getting the project over the line and the success of the Kennedy Cup and Galway teams, is just another example of how the curve of Kerry soccer, is upward. He was loud in his praise of John O’Regan, the chief driving force behind the developments at Mounthawk Park “Delaney had a special word for KDL Secretary, John O’Regan, Delaney joked “I got five million off Blatter, if we had sent John O’Regan we’d have got ten!”

Martin O’Neill said he was delighted that he was back in Kerry, though there are times he just goes, where John Delaney directs. O’Neill was in high his praise of the achievements of the teams that recently won the Kennedy Cup and Galway Cup, national tournaments “To get support is one thing, to actually do it is quite something else,” said Martin O’Neill.

The two-time European Cup winner was especially impressed with the heroics of the Kennedy Cup winning captain, David Dineen, who scored a penalty in the semi-final shootout in the competition, despite having to be carried to the penalty spot by his teammates because he was suffering from cramp.

O’Neill remarked “ So he was carried to the penalty spot as I understand it – planked on the spot – took the kick – back of the net and he collapsed to the ground – So he scored on one leg !!! I must keep that in mind the next time Robbie Keane is playing Quipped O’Neill!”

O’Neill praised the league and wished it well and was delighted to see the progress that was being made.

Hon Sec John O’Regan, who has been Secretary of the KDL since 1976, said; “When we started on this journey it was the kids we were thinking of. No one deserves more praise and more thanks then John Delaney. He turned every stone to make sure we got what
we duly deserved. I was fortunate enough to be in Limerick, when my own grandson Alex O’Connor was in goal for the final, having saved those penalties in the semi-final and its for that Kennedy Cup team and Galway Cup winning sides that the future of the game is relying on. I will be trying very hard to Kerry into an U-17 National League so as we can provide a pathway for our brightest and best ”

Charles McDonald said Domino’s was delighted to be involved with the KDL but if he did not stop speaking Stuart Templeman and Barry Walshe would have all the pizzas ate.

The evening was completed with some refreshments and copius photographs and selfies with Martin O’Neill and John Delaney.

Comments are closed.