Ardee Celtic have just celebrated their 20th anniversary with the official opening of their Townparks clubhouse and grounds.
Dundalk FC coaches also provided coaching sessions for their younger players on the day and a fun time was had by all.
The club thanks to all who came along and joined in the celebrations and thanks to all who helped make the weekend such a great success.
Paddy Griffen of Ardee Celtic told me that the club originally played under the name of Mellifont United and was founded back in 1992 when they first entered the Meath and District League.
“But its roots go much deeper,” said Paddy. “The founding members Paddy Myles and John McGuirk led the club on many campaigns in the Dundalk Summer League throughout the ‘80s.
“After spending its formative years playing on a field in Darver, some six miles from the town of Ardee, the club in 2004 developed its own purpose-built dressing rooms and three pitches on a five acre site at Townparks just outside Ardee.
“After many near misses, Ardee Celtic claimed its first senior trophy in 1995 with the Gerry Bradley Memorial Shield and has gone on to be one of the league’s most successful and respected clubs, reaching the Premier Division in 2001 and picking up the Meath and District League’s Club of the Year award in 2005.
“The club’s first team suffered relegation from the top division two years ago, but is now seeing the fruits of underage development with a steadily improving side packed with young players who have come through the ranks. The club now has three senior teams competing in the Meath and District League.”
The club’s underage section started up in 1990 and over the years both boys and girls teams have competed in the Dundalk, Drogheda, and North East Counties Leagues.
“The club’s underage section continues to grow from strength to strength and now provides a player pathway from U6 right through to senior level,” said Paddy.
“Every weekend the clubhouse is a hive of activity with over 250 players in action for the club’s 19 teams.”
Just recently the club has seen the emergence of a vibrant new parents committee who’s first event, “Wax, Shave & Dye”, proved not only to be a great fundraiser but also a brilliant social occasion for club members. The club looks forward to working with the Parents Committee again in the future and all the willing parents that have come on board. The club is totally reliant on volunteers who generously give so much of their time and energy to take on the essential roles of coaching, fundraising, and grounds maintenance, through to participation on the various club committees and initiatives.
The club has a healthy relation with local primary schools and has hosted an annual inter-school blitz. Many of the club’s teenage players also play for the local Ardee Community School and the club has often provided it’s facilities for the purpose of school matches.
“During the last season,” said Paddy, “the club organised a number of bus trips to the Aviva Stadium through the FAI’s Club Initiative Scheme. Ardee Celtic underage players and coaches have enjoyed excursions to the Aviva for the recent Slovakia, Armenia, Estonia, and Czech Republic matches and also last season’s Europa Cup Final.
Additionally Ardee Celtic had the honour of providing ball boys and girls at both the recent Slovakia and Estonia Euro-qualifier matches.
“These trips to the Aviva have proved a big hit socially and the club looks forward to many more exciting adventures along side the Ireland international team.