Boost for underage football in region as MSL confirm centre of excellence development

MSL Hon Secretary, Derek Collins, is pictured on the grounds of the proposed centre of excellence site

MSL Hon Secretary, Derek Collins, is pictured on the grounds of the proposed centre of excellence site

A major boost for underage football in the Midlands region, the executive committee of the Midlands Schoolboy/girls league has confirmed the recent purchase of a 27-acre land holding outside Clara, County Offaly, for the purpose of constructing a new state-of-the-art football centre of excellence.

This proposed new facility will give both players and coaches from Westmeath, Roscommon, Offaly, Laois and East Galway the best possible foundation for their footballing education and overall development both on and off the pitch. They will have access to multiple pitches, both grass and artificial, dressing rooms, classrooms, gymnasium, and video analysis rooms on a phased basis across a multi-year development.

There are currently no FAI-certified full-size astro turf pitches in Laois or Offaly.

Speaking about the proposed development the Hon. Secretary of the MSL Derek Collins stated that the proposed development will be a significant advantage to players and coaches from the Midlands region.

“We now have close to 5,500 players playing in our region. This development will hopefully allow us to see more and more players from the region progress to play at the top level of football, both at home and abroad, and will cement our place as one of the top regions in the country for both player and coach development allowing each and everyone to maximize their full potential,” Mr Collins stated.

With the land purchase now complete, the executive committee has commenced the process of engaging a design team to start the planning application as soon as possible, as well as making representations to all the political figures from the area seeking their support for this ambitious project for the Midlands.

Regarding the current financial climate in Ireland, Mr Collins noted that the league will not be imposing any extra financial burden on its clubs and the league will form a fundraising committee.

“Through this committee, grants from government bodies, and a main sponsor, we hope to develop the land over several years in stages. At present, the league is paying between €40,000 to €45.000 per season in the hire of grounds to train and play matches for all our ETP squads,” Mr Collins added.


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