Inishowen Rugby Club members have spoken of their delight at their long-awaited purchase of grounds at Moss Road, Carndonagh after a “very long wait.”
At the recent meeting of Donegal County Council in Lifford, it was formally proposed it sell the grounds to the trustees of the club for 174,00 euro. It was proposed by Councillor Bernard McGuinness and seconded by Councillor Rena Donaghey.
The club has leased the land from the Council for the best part of 40 years and the fact it did not own it meant they were unable to apply for some key grants.
Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ John Keyes, honorary secretary of the club said owning the ground was hugely important to them.
He said: “We’re just delighted. We’ve been trying to purchase the land for quite some time. It’s been a slow burner and we’ve really been working extremely hard on it for the past two or three years. This means a lot to the club, our members and patrons.”
Mr Keyes said the club was especially keen to commend Councillor McGuinness for his help and support.
“We are very grateful. He was very proactive in helping to get the sale over the line,” he said.
The club paid an initial deposit of 17,400 euro and will pay a further 32,600 when the contract is finalised. It must then pay 124,000 euro over a ten-year period.
Mr Keyes said they had a lot of fundraising ahead.
“We’ll have to fundraise for this while also running the club. But, it’s onwards and upwards. We have received great support from Carndonagh Community School, who helped us use their facilities. Many other sports clubs have also been very helpful. We’ve also been very lucky to have had unbelievable support from our sponsors, patrons and members, who are over the moon at this news and what it means for our future.”
Mr Keyes told how over 60 young people from the ages of seven to 16 attend training at the Moss Road.
He said thir ownership of the ground would now give them their “identity.”
“Even though we have played at the Moss Road for 40 years, because it’s now our own we can put a development plan together. We can go looking for grant aid and big things are ahead for the club. This will give us our identity.”
He added: “We’re a unique club in that we’re Inishowen Rugby Club. We serve the whole peninsula. We reach out to the young people, who are out there training in large numbers. They are the future of this club and we would be nothing without them.”