Dundalk FC Chairman Ciaran Bond said that the link up between the club and DkIT was an example of both institutions’ wish to enhance the economic and social life of people in the north east region.
Speaking at the launch of the Soccer Scholarship Academy at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown on Monday, Bond said the benefits would be huge, both personally and professionally, for prospective candidates.
“From a personal perspective, I have seen first hand how beneficial sport and education can be in a young person’s development.
“I have been involved in youth football in Dundalk for many years, particularly in disadvantaged areas and sport and education is crucial in giving young people the tools to develop their personal and professional lives.”
“There are a lot of people who have helped to establish this partnership but I’d link to single out two people for their contribution. First of all, DkIT President Denis Cummins for having the foresight to elevate sport to top of the DkIT agenda and our former General Manager Paul Johnston for his role in completing a task that he set out to establish years ago.”
DkIT Chairman Andrew Griffith spoke of his delight at the link up, highlighting the role that DkIT President Denis Cummins had in the process.
“There has been a joy when Denis has spoken of this project and this is one of the highlights of his time at DkIT.
“I’m delighted to say that we’ve bought the 285,000 square foot complex at Dundalk Ice Dome and JJB Soccerdome. We now have the best sporting facilities in Ireland and we would invite Dundalk to come into the institute and avail of the facilities. We are delighted with this scenario and we look forward to seeing it grow and develop.”
FAI President Paddy McCaul also spoke at the launch and said it was great to see Dundalk FC back challenging at the summit of the League of Ireland.
“It’s great to see Dundalk FC back at the top end of Irish football”, he said. “The arrival of Paul Browne and Andy Connolly as owners, Ciaran Bond as Chairman and Stephen Kenny as manager has breathed new life into the club and what happened last year was akin to a phoenix rising from the flames.
“Dundalk FC are one of the biggest brands in Irish football. They have always produced great young players and hopefully this scholarship scheme will produce the next Joey Donnelly, Tommy McConville, Barry Kehoe and Steve Staunton.”