A MAJOR new development will kick-off the footballing season at Holm Park during August.
For a state-of-the-art synthetic pitch – costing in excess of £400,000 – will be put in place at the Ardmore site.
And the news was greeted with delight by all those attending Armagh City Football Club’s end-of-season player presentations and dinner dance on Saturday evening in the City Hotel.
Club chairman Philip Johnston read out a prepared statement outlining the project and thanked all those responsible for bringing it to fruitation.
He said: “Armagh City FC has received an offer of £245,000 from Sport Northern Ireland towards the provision of a FIFA 2* synthetic 3G pitch at Holm Park.
“It is hoped that construction will commence before the end of this month and that the project will be completed in August, in time for the new football season.
“The facility, which is also being supported by Armagh City and District Council, will provide quality facilities to encouage increased participation in sport by young people, disability people, girls and women, and should also assist the general health of a growing number of individuals, young and old alike.
“The new facility will be available for hire to local schools, sports clubs and community groups.
“Further details in relation to bookings will be announced within the next few weeks,” the statement ended.
The new development – which received full cross-party support within the local council – should start almost immediately following the award of the contract.
While the announcement was greeted with enthusiasm by all, it was only part of a fun-packed evening enjoyed by guests – including Armagh City and District Deputy Mayor Sylvia McRoberts – sponsors, club members, players and supporters.
In a magnificent season Armagh City finished third in the Belfast Telegraph Championship Two – just missing out on promotion by one place!
And, as a result, there was great anticipation on who would become the major award winners.
In the end central defender Ultan Lennon deservedly collected the ‘Player-of-the-Season’ accolade.
Selected for the Northern Ireland Eastern Zone side in 2012-13, Ultan has been magnificent all year and this was reflected in this landslide vote.
A tigerish tackler and strong in the air, the player also has deceptive speed which makes him a tenacious opponent.
The ‘Young Player-of-the-Year’ prize was collected by talented left wing-back Ryan McGerrigan whose non-stop running and creative play going forward has been a pleasing feature all season.
An unsung hero normally wins the ‘Clubman of the Year’ award and on Saturday evening the alloclade went to committee member/groundsman Bertie Hutchinson.
A lifelong ‘Cityman’, Bertie is the mainstay in the preparation of the pitch and is seen out in all weather cutting, marking and repairing the ground throughout the season.
Testimony to all his hard work over 20 years is the fact that Holm Park is regarded to one of the best pitches in Championship football.
Bertie, however, will now get some respite with the announcement of the development of the new 3G synthetic pitch at Ardmore!
Ther were numerous other presentations at the dinner, with leading senior team goalscorer Stephen Murray and promising teenager Luke Grimley also in the limelight.
Trophies were also presented to three City teams – including the Reserves – for winning their respective league titles.
A very enjoyable night and already Armagh City FC is looking forward to the new season with renewed optimism.
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