The Community organisations in Ballinasloe have rallied around Ballinasloe Town A.f.C. in magnificent fashion in the Clubs bid to be named the F.a.I. national club of the year (best club in Ireland).Local organisations ranging from residents associations, local primary and secondary schools,charitable groups, youth groups, training workshops, community employment schemes, B.A.C.D. Community Games, Credit Union and Tidy Towns all contributed in a positive fashion to the clubs application by highlighting the contribution that the Club make to the Ballinasloe Community.
The community involvement/integration is one of the criteria on which the national adjudicators will assess the applications. Other criteria consists of club development of facilities, youth structure and policy, involvement with F.A.I. programmes in terms of coaching courses, child protection courses and player development, success on the field of play and promoting the sport of association football (soccer).
The Club are certainly to the forefront with regard to satisfying the relevant criteria in that they can successfully boast of a 1.75 million euros development which is currently 97% debt free and consists of 2 grass playing pitches (1 floodlit), 2 floodlit astro turf pitches, state of the art newly constructed clubhouse, original clubhouse which facilitates the astro turf pitches, spectator stand and machinery/storage building. The club also have a licence agreement regarding the use of a grass pitch and floodlit training area with the H.S.E. at St. Brigids Grounds
As regards to the clubs youth structure , the club caters for under 8s right up along the line to under 18s. Annual street leagues, weekly youth soccer academy and the hugely successful annual youth soccer camp are also an integral part of the clubs youth activities. The Clubs managers/coaches have successfully completed F.A.I. coaching courses, child protection courses and Garda vetting this season and this is an ongoing process for the club. The aforementioned also forms part of the club application.
Former club players who progressed up through the club youth structure have this season featured on Irish International teams namely Heather Payne, (ladies senior team), Jordan Carr (irish under 16 team) and Conor Lyang (under 18 Irish schools team). Conor Lyang and Eoin Mccormack (last years hero for Ballinasloe in the victorious connacht cup final) have both signed for Galway United and are starring for the League of Ireland club.
Also featuring on the clubs detailed application to the F.a.I. was the significant achievement of recently hosting the under 16 International between Ireland and Hungary and indeed the recent official opening of the new state of the art clubhouse.
Success on the field of play this season concluded the clubs application. This success included being the current holders of the Connacht Junior Cup, winners of the over 35 league, winners of the under 12/13 combi league and runners up in the combi cup and winners of the A.D.S.L. futsal tournament. The clubs senior team are in contention to win the Premier League with 1 game left to play and are guaranteed at the very least the runners up spot.
Club Development Co- Ordinator Johnny Walsh paid tribute on behalf of the club to all Community Organisations who supported the clubs application and to all involved with the club for all their excellent work in this regard.
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