3,000 plus capacity stadium will be jewel in the crown of inner city sporting facilities
The redevelopment of the historic Markets Field sports ground is within touching distance thanks to the announcement of €1.1m in funding for the project by Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Community and local Government Jan O’Sullivan.
Together with €400,000 raised by the Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership, which is the driving the project to develop the Garryowen facility, the €1.1million announced by Minister O’Sullivan today will bridge the existing shortfall on the project and enable its completion by the end of 2014. The project has also benefited from the generosity of the JP McManus Foundation to the tune €1.5million.
The 3,000 plus capacity stadium will provide for the return of Limerick FC to its spiritual home as well as becoming a centre for other sports and community organisations, in keeping with the objectives of the Limerick Regeneration Programme. Work on re-laying the playing surface at the grounds, which has been unoccupied since 2009, has already been completed.
The facility, which will meet FAI standards, will come complete with a 124m X 80m playing field for use by a range of sporting organisations; conversion of existing stand to 900 seats and 25 seat disabled viewing area; a 300 seat home supporters stand; 300 seat away supporter stand; floodlighting; renovation of Tote Building and other existing buildings to changing rooms, medical, testing, toilet blocks and media offices/classroom facilities; terracing; associated ground-works; fenced playing area; new entrances; and tarmacadam concreted areas and hard standing areas for the pitch perimeter.
Announcing the funding, Minister O’Sullivan said: “The Markets Field holds a special place in the hearts of all Limerick sporting interests. In recent decades it is most recognised for its association with Limerick FC and greyhound racing but when you dig deeper into its past you get a real sense as to why there has been such a collective effort to create a facility of real quality in the heart of the city here again.
“It was originally a Gaelic Games ground, also hosted athletics competitions in its early years, was a one-time home of one of Limerick’s most famous rugby clubs, Garryowen before its association with soccer and greyhound racing. That’s a fantastic sporting heritage and it is only right that it would be redeveloped for use by a number of sports organisations and the community in addition to its anchor tenant Limerick FC.”
The funding was also welcomed by Finance Minister Michael Noonan. “The Markets Field has an outstanding legacy in sport in this city, across many codes and the commitment of €1.1m in funding this week will ensure that this great legacy will continue. The redevelopment of this facility will breathe new life back into this area of the city again,” he said.
Gerry Boland, a director of LEDP, said: “The announcement of this funding by Minister O’Sullivan is a really exciting moment for all involved with the project. It brings the completion of this fantastic project for Limerick to within touching distance. We are on track now for the Markets Field to reopen i next year when it will begin writing another proud chapter for itself in the proud annals of sport in Limerick.”
Brian Geaney, Senior Executive officer at the Office of Regeneration, said that the redevelopment of Markets Field is a key project for Limerick’s inner city. “From the very outset of the Limerick Regeneration programme sport was identified as a facilitator for social change and we have invested heavily in sporting facilities across the city. The completed Markets Field will be a jewel in the crown of the inner city’s sporting facilities and will be for all the community to enjoy.”