North Meath athletic club looks to the future
St Brigid's Athletic Club are putting firm foundations down for their future as work gets underway to upgrade the club's facilities at Ballinacree.
The club are installing a 120m six-lane tartan track and a 500m gravel track on the outside which acts as a walkway for members of the local community to access.
"We got good funding from the Sports Capital Programme and also from the Leader Programme. Altogether it will cost €155,000 to cover what we are doing," said Ger Heery, the chairman of St Brigid's AC.
The club has 120 athletes (80 juveniles and 40 seniors) and owns an four-acre site beside the home ground of St Brigid's GAA club. "We have a lot of good sprinters coming through at the moment and the sprint track will be needed for them because when you go away to take part in competitions you have to be used to sprinting on the firmer, bouncer surface on the tartan," Heery added.
"The grass is all right for training but to get athletes ready for competition we need to have the right facilities.
"We have a number of athletes now who have got to the All-Irelands in sprint competitions, 60m, 80m, 100m and so on. A young man, Mark Halpin, from Oldcastle won a medal in the Community Games in the 200m in 2019.
"Jessica Briody, Aine Keogan, Stephanie Briody and Amy Masterson qualified for the All-Irelands at the Community Games in the last couple of years.
"We celebrated our 50th anniversary last year and the new development is very significant for us. The four acres we have was bought in 2008 and we've spent the last 10, 12 years paying for that and now we're developing the facilities we have there."
Heery won the green and gold colours with distinction as an athlete winning the Meath Senior Cross-County title nine times between 1991 and 2007 , five under the NACA and four under the AAI.
Now he and other club members are looking to ensure the club has facilities to laid the foundations for the future.