The official opening of the new grass pitches in Roadstone will take place on Monday afternoon.
Attending will be representatives of the Government, FAI, Roadstone Sport & Social Group, South Dublin County Council, DDSL, SRFC Partner Clubs, Volunteers, Staff and Board of Shamrock Rovers F.C.
The opening of the pitch constitutes the finishing of Phase One in the development of Shamrock Rovers’ Academy, and is a facility that will cater to up 500 children and young people training at elite, grassroots and football for all level on a weekly basis.
The two pitches, which has been built to the highest international standards with the support of the FAI and our partners the Roadstone Group Sports Club, enables us to continue our clubs Youth and Community programmes to the highest standards.
Shamrock Rovers have been working in partnership with Roadstone Group Sports Club for the past three years, and have a formal licence agreement in place for the use of the facilities and locating of the Shamrock Rovers Academy at the venue.
The Shamrock Rovers Academy has been established with the aim of creating “environment that promotes excellence, nurtures talent & produces professional players capable of playing for the SRFC first team & beyond”. The Academy, which caters for players from Under8 – Under19, follows the principles of the FAI’s Player Pathway and adheres to best practices in relation to coaching of underage players – providing age appropriate contact hours of top quality coaching.
The facility also reinforces the club’s commitment to the local community with players drawn from all over the Tallaght and Dublin 24 area having the opportunity to train there. Our full time Community Department supported by The Square Shopping Centre is working with clubs and schools throughout the area to get young people more active. We are working with the FAI’s Development Officers across a range of programmes, with the most recent development being our Amputee Football programme which takes place in Roadstone Group Sports Club every week.
In addition to this, the facility plays a major part in the clubs’ commitment to education hosting the STAR Program. Entitled STAR (Sporting Talent & Academic Rewards), and organised in conjunction with TAP, Trinity Sport and Shamrock Rovers, it aims to keep talented young footballers in education for longer.
A lot of children dream of becoming professional footballers. Yet this dream often comes at a cost – their education. “We did a recent survey in 11 DEIS schools of 1,100 students,” “and over 33% said they wanted to be professional sportsperson when they left school. Most of them said they did not see the value in education.” Furthermore, over 80% of young men who play soccer at an elite level come from working-class communities and often DEIS schools.
The club recognise that in the times we live in, where football is such a difficult profession to succeed in, some children end up with a limited capacity to get jobs and are at risk of falling into poverty and not realising their full academic potential. The STAR project combines sporting capabilities with academic support and offers young people from places like Tallaght, Drimnagh and inner city Dublin with a chance to keep sport focused, through training with Shamrock Rovers and Trinity Sport, with academic support through the Trinity Access Programmes.
Shamrock Rovers Chairman Jonathan Roche further added: “Shamrock Rovers are delighted and honoured to partner with Trinity College. We recently opened a new training facility for our young players and we are striving to raise the bar in Irish football by developing our own talent on the pitch. A huge part of this is working with the kids off the pitch also. It is vitally important for us that kids are educated both on and off the pitch. This programme will show kids the importance of education and that football and education can go hand in hand.”
Shamrock Rovers, in partnership with Roadstone Group Sports Club, have received planning permission for phase two of the development plans – the building of dressing rooms/gym/lounge/education room – to bring the facility to a new level, one that can truly be a football centre of excellence. John Delaney, and the FAI, have been most supportive of these plans.