The Abbey CBS in Tipperary Town is making great progress with a plan designed to provide a modern sporting infrastructure at the secondary school that will benefit generations to come.
Guiding the process is Principal John Kiely, a man who has worked miracles as manager of the Limerick senior hurling team leading them to historic back to back All-Ireland titles.
That incredible high profile sporting success with his native county is as he describes it himself “an absolute dream” but the Limerick manager is equally committed to his desire to equip the Abbey with sporting facilities of a very high standard.
John is very happy with the steady progress made to date and is looking forward to taking on the challenge of the next step.
The project has dramatically changed the landscape of the Abbey grounds with huge investment already carried out to greatly enhance the pitches on the site. A modern new sports hall is being fully utilised and the addition of an all weather astro turf pitch and hurling wall is the next piece of the jigsaw.
John, backed by a powerful team at the Abbey family consisting of past and present staff, board of management and pupils, believes the new all-weather facilities will be a massive asset to the school and the community for generations to come.
To enable the Abbey CBS, in partnership with the adjoining Arravale Rovers club, advance the plan a fundraising drive was launched this week.
The inaugural Abbey/Arravale Rovers golf classic on at Tipperary Golf Club will kick off the push for funds. The golf classic will take place on September 16 and 17 between 12pm and 4pm.
John Kiely and Paddy Delaney, Arravale Rovers appealed to the community for support for the golf fundraiser.
John Kiely appealed to past and present people associated with the school to participate. If they can’t be there on the two days he urged them to sponsor a tee box or make a donation.
Past pupil Andy Lacey (0872410730) is the man to contact for those interested in taking part and supporting the cause.
John Kiely said the astro turf/hurling wall represented the next phase of the sporting project at the school.
“The next bit now is the astro turf, and if you do it every few years, it accumulates. This is a massive project and we would not be able to do it on our own.
“We needed the assistance of the community and what better way to do it than with our neighbours Arravale Rovers.
“It is a perfect match. They can literally walk out the gate and they can be in the middle of the facilities here in the Abbey in no time, It is a perfect match for us and it is going to make a big difference to both organisations,” said John Kiely.
The astro turf project together with the lighting, fencing and hurling wall will cost in the region of €400,000.
The Abbey has already secured some funding for the astro turf phase from the Erasmus Trust and the Tomar Fund and John and all involved are hoping for a positive outcome from an application to the Government for sports capital programme funding.
“We are hoping that our application would be endorsed. That sports capital funding will be close to 50% of the overall cost so we are hopeful,” said John.
The sports hall represented an investment of €1.1m and it has had a enormous positive effect on the Abbey.
“It has made an incredible difference. It has been transformational. Right throughout the Covid we were able to do things we just would not have been able to do had we not had the PE hall including training, PE classes, and lunchtime activities. It has made a huge difference,” said John Kiely.
He pointed out that the facility enables the school to provide for minority sports.
“A lot of the sports we can do in the hall are the minority sports that the not so sporty kid might be interested in such as badminton, volleyball, table tennis, indoor soccer Olympic handball, games that are not pitch orientated,” he added.
The hall, he said, provided an opportunity for all.
“Not every child is naturally sporty but that does not mean they can’t participate in sport or that they can’t get some enjoyment out of sport. We saw in the Olympics the impact of the some of the minority sports, and we are so proud to have participants in such a wide range of sports.
“We just need to keep youngsters healthy and active and interested in an activity that they can enjoy,” said John.
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