FAI chief executive John Delaney was in Dundalk on Wednesday evening to pledge his full support behind Woodview Celtic’s bid to find a place they can call home.
Delaney, along with local TD, Peter Fitzpatrick, Dundalk FC chairman, Ciaran Bond, NEFL secretary Gerry Gorman and Dundalk Schoolboys League chairman, Gerry Gover all addressed a packed crowd at The Ballymascanlon Hotel.
Woodview have been in existence for 25-years but still don’t have a home ground of their own. However Delaney, who gave the club a donation of €2,500 as well as offering 150 kids tickets for the upcoming European Championship Qualifier between the Republic of Ireland and Georgia in September, said the FAI would do everything in their power to change that.
“Ultimately, I will help Woodview in whatever way I can,” he told The Dundalk Democrat.
“It’s easy giving out tickets and small funding but we must now deliver the pitch. There is work to be done now.”
“If you build a house you have to build the foundations first,” he continued
“Grassroots football is the foundation of the game and I genuinely love meeting clubs and trying to help them with the problems that they face.”
Delaney met with the club’s committee members before the presentation and he said he was impressed by what he saw.
“There’s an incredible energy from the committee, they’re young, vibrant, enthusiastic lads. They’re all doing it on a voluntary basis and they’re all giving back to their community. They have ten underage teams and a senior side and effectively what they are doing is keeping kids away from things like Playstations and getting them onto the football pitch.
“It’s quite remarkable that the club has stayed alive for 25-years,” he added.
“I gather that it was formed after the Italia 90 World Cup so to go that long and have the amount of teams they do is tremendous but they need to look at the next 25 years now and for that they will need their own home and dressing rooms and committee rooms. “Peter Fitzpatrick asked me to come up and meet the club and I’m delighted to do that. “We’ll all work together to help find them a home of their own.”
His comments were echoed by Fitzpatrick. The former Louth GAA boss has been working with Woodview committee members Paul McArdle and Eamonn O’Hagan in trying to secure Woodview a home and he said no stone would be unturned until that is resolved.
“Eamonn and Paul have been knocking at my door for the last six months,” he said.
“We’re in negotiations with a few people at the minute and my commitment over the next six months is to help Woodview Celtic. Even if we have to beg, borrow or steal, we will get them a pitch.”
Woodview secretary Kevin Magee also paid tribute to Delaney and said the club were thrilled to have him on board.
“The FAI have given us their full backing in trying to find a piece of land for ourselves. They will send an FAI representative down to the meeting that will hopefully secure us a home. When we secure this land, John has given us his full support that the FAI will help us out in any way to help with facilities for the children.
“It’s great to have him here. It’s a long time since a club from Dundalk has had John down to see them and I would really like to thank him for that.”
Magee also thanked the sponsors of the event, Fyffes, Peter Fitzpatrick, Café 37, Dundalk Schoolboys League, Balon Sports, NEFL, Black Wok, Young’s, Oxy Arc, Slimming World (Fiona Pepper), Lally’s Electrical, O’Hare Tyres, Smack Dry Cleaners, Johnny Kirk, Gary Hoey, Laverty Motors, Micro Clean Environmental, National Time, The Strong Room, McCreesh’s Avenue Deli, Black & White Construction, Gem Embroidery, and Priority Printing.