A community that supports its sports clubs

The people of Ballygar, Newbridge and Toghergar are well served by a number of sports clubs including St Brendan’s GAA and LGFA, Ballygar Hurling Club, and last year’s RDFL Challenge Cup winners, Shiven Rovers. Last week, Roscommon town native and current St Brendan’s LGFA chairperson, Michael McHale, offered reporter Dan Dooner a whistlestop tour of the area’s sporting facilities including the latest, top class development in Ballygar.  


What age groups does St Brendan’s LGFA cater for?


The club has teams for every underage group up to minor, and our adult team is currently playing at intermediate level.


How has the season been going so far?


It’s been all league games so far and it is a long season, but it’s been going great. There was great interest here recently when we started our U-6s back. Everybody seems to be enjoying it and that’s the main thing at this time of year.

What level of support do sports clubs receive from the local community?


I have to say that here in Ballygar and the surrounding areas of Newbridge and Toghergar the support for anything we do is absolutely phenomenal. Whether it’s supporting fundraisers, sponsoring gear, food, jerseys, etc., we’re never found wanting.


What is the current state of play when it comes to facilities here?


Our underage groups primarily use the Niall Walsh pitch next to the Mattie McDonagh Centre. We have the three clubs here in Ballygar: St Brendan’s LGFA, and St Brendan’s GAA and Ballygar Hurling Club, which are separate entities. Killian GAA Sportsground is nearby in Newbridge and that’s a floodlit pitch which has been used by all teams down through the years. Then, within the last 12 years or so, a new development was started here in Ballygar out towards the Ballyforan Road.


What stage is that development at now?


It’s coming along nicely; we’ve two fine pitches, brand new state-of-the-art dressing rooms, and a gym. They’re currently working on the surrounding areas such as car parking and other facilities. That’s a huge project and it will be ongoing, but we are now at a phase where we’re developing the grounds themselves. The next step is to install floodlights so we can have training and matches all year round.


How big a role has the local community played in funding that development?


The support we have received locally has been absolutely key. The big thing would have been the recent fundraisers which raised over €200,000 – a lot of that came directly from the community. There is huge support and people are very generous.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported and continue to support our various fundraisers including our weekly 50/50 Draw. It’s greatly appreciated by all three clubs and the ongoing development of facilities wouldn’t be possible without it.