PAT DEVLIN has called on Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council to work with Cabinteely to create top-class facilities for professional sport in the borough.
Cabo is the only League of Ireland club in an area with a rich sporting heritage and achievement, but which has no municipal stadium to match.
With South Dublin County Council boasting Tallaght Stadium, Fingal Morton Stadium and a plethora within the city limits, Dun Laoghaire is a strange anomaly.
The club – who announced a new Under-12s academy model for development ahead of their fourth season in league football – rent facilities from Blackrock College RFC in Stradbrook.
And while Devlin stressed the club’s appreciation for how accommodating the rugby club has been, he stressed that the county’s sports clubs need more and better infrastructure.
“I remember starting in Bray in 85,” said Devlin. “I know it’s not a state of the art stadium anymore but it has certainly improved.
“You really need to get to the level of Tallaght, Waterford, Galway, Cork, you need to get to that level if you have a product.
“How we fix it will only take everyone together at the table. We all need to be together and be singing off the same hymn sheet.
“If that opportunity is there, maybe the people in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown can take note of what is happening and that we can have a brand in this area that will be next to none.”
Cabo’s new academy model will see the club’s 65 Under-12 players take on elite technical training three nights a week with different members of the club’s first team.
The best 20 of those players will then go on to the Under-13 League of Ireland team the following season, while the others will remain with the club’s schoolboy sides.
With Shamrock Rovers having developed world-class facilities out in Roadstone, the standard has been set in terms of quality of facilities, and other clubs need to keep pace.
“I remember Kenny Dalglish telling me one time, ‘we’re building a new academy in Blackburn.’ He brought me over, he brought me into a place that was in originally an asylum, Brockhall.
“Out they come and there are cows up on a field and he’s saying ‘This is going to be here and this is going to be there.’
“At the time, we were trying to sign Duffer and I said, ‘Oh my god, this is a mistake to bring anyone out here’.
“Because it was bleak, it was worse than here. They developed the most fantastic academy, actually two of them, one for the first team and then one for the kids. It just shows you what you can do.
“Who knows what is around the corner for us but there isn’t anything in the Dun Laoghaire area.
“We spent €30 million on a library down here. So why shouldn’t there be some facilities for a club like Cabinteely with 65 teams?”