It was the National Sports Campus, then the Sport Ireland national Sports Campus and now the Sport Ireland Campus. The name of Ireland’s sporting epicentre has shortened but the facilities available just off the M50 at Abbottstown continue to expand.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was on site on Friday afternoon to formally open the second phase of the National Indoor Arena, with its full-size pitches synthetic under an arched roof. As a signal of the benefits of smart investment and a collaborative approach from sport, there can hardly be a finer example anywhere in the world.
One of the main highlights of seeing the Campus expand and grow over recent years is the seamless way in which as one element of the project is opened the next has already begun.
Looking out from the new indoor pitches you can see the most modern of grass surface being laid and rolled across the way signalling the near dawn of Irish Rugby’s full-time presence at the Campus.
Philip Browne was present for the opening on Friday and looking forward to the day coming soon when the Ireland 15’s squad training would take place alongside the 7’s at the Campus. The level of facilities available ranging from Sports Science at the Sport Ireland Institute to physio, medical and pitch services is right up there to match any other team in the world.
FAI President Donal Conway and former acting CEO Rea Walshe were also present as were leading figures from the GAA and across the sporting spectrum.
This is an incredible facility and one which has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
We are excited to be partnering with the Sport Ireland Campus for the first ever All Ireland Company Games in September of this year when twelve of Ireland’s biggest and brightest companies will compete across 12 sporting events to test their mettle against their rivals.
Eight of the places have already been taken and discussions are underway about filling the last four with a full unveiling of those taking part expected next month. If you would like to be part of it email us today to open up a conversation.
The next phases of development are already underway with the full Olympic standard Hockey pitch almost complete and work ready to start shortly on a new National Badminton Centre and Velodrome.
After that work has already begun on identifying a partner with whom to create an on Campus hotel and accommodation for athletes.
It is a perfect example of how an achievable plan, with strong Government financial support, can deliver, not overnight but over a manageable time frame and in a way that could only be imagined when we won two Silver and two Bronze medals at Olympic Games over 36 years between 1956 and 1992.
One of those was, of course, won by John Treacy who took Silver in the Los Angeles Games of 1984 and was Friday’s host as CEO of Sport Ireland.
“The development of Phase Two means that Ireland’s leading field sports will have access to extensive indoor and outdoor facilities along with the world-class facilities of the Sport Ireland Institute in one location, delivering a significant improvement on training facilities elsewhere,” he said.
“We have a commitment from Irish Rugby, who will make the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena home for their elite national teams. I would like to thank the sports for their close collaboration on this project and look forward to seeing the pitches and additional facilities in full use in the months and years ahead.”
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar has been closely involved with the project as the local TD, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and as Taoiseach.
“This is a red-letter day for the Sport Ireland Campus and for Irish sport,” he said.
“I am a great believer in Government investment in sport. Sport helps bring communities together in a way that is both remarkable and inspiring. The budget for sport increased by 12 per cent last year as part of our strategy to double it by 2027.”
“When our athletes and teams compete at the highest level they carry our hopes and our dreams. We share their heartache in defeat, their joy in victory. We are with them win or lose.”
“The Government’s mission is to provide world-class facilities, so our athletes and teams can compete on the world stage. The expanded Sport Ireland Campus has become a very busy venue in a short space of time and I hope that it will contribute to continued success for Irish sport in the coming years.”
The project was announced two years ago and has come in on budget at a cost of €24.4 million. The value in the long term benefit for Irish sport both at a performance as well as an inspirational level is harder to calculate but can only be imagined as being worth many times more.
There were a collection of sporting stars there to see and experience the facility as well as politicians, administrators and media. The next generation of young players will see this as normal. That is a fine legacy to have created.
Image Credit: Morgan treacy, Inpho.ie