TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar will officially fire the first starting pistol to mark the opening of the €3million Regional Athletics Hub in Newcastle West this afternoon (Thursday September 14).
Located close to the town, at Cloonysrehane on the Cork Road, the hugely impressive facility boasts an athletics track to international World Athletics standard (eight lane/400m), floodlights for the track, and a fully-lit walking path on the track perimeter. Field sports such as shot putt, discus, hammer, javelin, long jump, high jump, and pole vault are all also catered for.
The project was funded by Limerick City and County Council, the Large-Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund (which is part of Project Ireland 2040 administered by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media), the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage through its Hinterland Fund, and the JP McManus Benevolent Fund.
Speaking on the launch, Gordon Daly, Director of Community Development and Manager of the Newcastle West Municipal District, promised: “The track has been long called for and Limerick City and County Council is very pleased to be involved with this important piece of sporting infrastructure for County Limerick and further afield.”
Jim Galvin led the Steering Committee for the ambitious project.
RUGBY: GRAHAM Rowntree handed debuts to Stephen Kiely (Old Crescent), Evan O’Connell (UL Bohemian), Shay McCarthy (Young Munster), and Kieran Ryan (Shannon) in the weekend pre-season loss to Leinster at Musgrave Park.
Munster are away to Connacht on Friday week and the following weekend entertain the Barbarians in a double-header (with women’s teams also lining out) at Thomond Park on Saturday September 30.
In the Munster Senior Cup, there are attractive fixtures on Saturday. Shannon at Cork Constituion, UL Bohemian away to Midleton, Old Crescent home to Dolphin, UCC v Garryowen, and Young Munster entertain Cashel. All fixtures kick-off at 2.30pm.
SOCCER: NEW signing Conor Coughlan grabbed a brace as Pike Rovers eased to a 4-1 win at Parkville in the opeing round of the FAI Cup.
The other goals came from Shane Franklin and Nathan O’Callaghan.
In only two all-Premier ties, Nenagh impressed in a 3-0 home win against Coonagh United (Ryan Gilmartin, Conor McCormack, and Aidan White all on the mark), while Newport won 2-1 at Carew Park.
Park player/manager Kieran Hanlon and Darren Collins netted for Carew and Daniel Ryan scored for the visitors.
The Munster Junior Cup takes centre-stage this weekend.
Meanwhile, Treaty United – whose promotion play-off ambitions were seriously dented with the recent 1-2 home loss to Wexford – host Bray in the First Division of the League of Ireland at the Markets Field on Friday (7.45pm).
GAA: BY the close of weekend business, the quarter/semi-final pairings will be known in the Irish Wire Products Limerick Senior Football Championship.
In Group One, holders Newcastle West are already through to the last four. It remains to be seem if Jimmy Lee’s side can wrap group matters up with a win over struggling Oola at Fitzgerald Park, Kilmallock, on Saturday (6pm).
Elsewhere, Fr Casey’s (Abbeyfeale) and Kildimo/Pallaskenry meet at Newcastle West to decide which of the pair will qualify for the semi-finals, with the other guaranteed a quarter-final slot. Fr Casey’s are tipped for victory.
In the relegation tussle, St Kieran’s should squeeze past Claughaun at Ballybrown.
In Group Two, Adare – who were anticipated to account for Ballylanders in a re-arranged early-week fixture – are tipped to cement their place at the head of affairs with victory over Ballysteen at Seán Finn Park on Sunday (2pm).
At the same time, second-placed Monaleen are fancied to overcome Galtee Gaels in Kilmallock and dark horses Na Piarsaigh could too seal a place in the knock-out stages with a win over Ballylanders in Bruff.
In the Ladies Senior Football Football Championship, holders Monagea run up against Dromcollogher/Broadford in Raheenagh and Old Mill meet St Ailbe’s in Mungret. Both fixtures are timed for 4.30pm with Oola and Ballylanders awaiting the respective winners.
Meanwhile, many former club players will feature for Limerick in Saturday’s ‘Spirit Final’ (over-40s) against Armagh at Kiltoom (St Brigid’s), Roscommon, 2pm.
Maurice O’Connor of Mountcollins is captain.