Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon
IF there is one club on the move it’s Barna Furbo United – or to give it his official name, Bearna Na Forbacha Aontaithe – and with plans to develop its playing base further, along with building a full size international soccer pitch in the coming years, it looks as if it is only going to get stronger and stronger.
Two of the driving forces behind the club are secretary Niall Rooney and facilities director Noel O’Toole. Both originally hail from Salthill Devon – having been involved in coaching and administration there – but today they are wholly committed to their adopted club.
The soccer club, itself, was founded in 1996 but after a few years was restructured again to best meet the challenges it faced and the goals it wished to pursue. In the 2004/2005 season, it joined the Galway and District League and now also competes in the Connacht and Irish Cup competitions.
An adult team was established in 2010 – it currently competes in Division 4 with a very young outfit – and both Rooney and O’Toole expect the huge volume of work being done at underage will come to fruition at senior in the not-too-distant future.
In any event, the club has a clear vision, both on and off the field. We begin with the latter. Six years ago, Barna Furbo United purchased seven acres adjacent to the community fields in Furbo, which already consists of a soccer and two GAA pitches.
“It was a big investment,” notes O’Toole. “As it stands though, we have three small Astro turf pitches – or one big pitch – at the existing facility (on the seven acres) and our plan is to have a full-size international soccer pitch there also in the next three to five years.”
Although the full-size international pitch comes under phase two of their project, some prep work was completed under the initial phase which has come to a cost of €400,000.
“You might think €400,000 is an awful lot for what is there but the groundwork in Connemara is totally different from the groundwork in East or North Galway. It is a whole new ball game. You either go down to Australia or you go down an inch.”
However, the vision is clear and, in this respect, Niall Rooney says what he would love to see is the facility getting some high-profile games in the years to come. “So, in five years time, the vision would be that we might have a full-sized international grass based-pitch out there.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.