Esker Celtic’s new 2G frame football pitch at Hermitage Park was officially opened last Friday.
The pitch – the first of its kind in Ireland – was developed through a collaboration between the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and the council as part of the FAI’s ‘Football for All’ programme.
The pitch is designed to cater for players who require the use of a walker style frame and also to those who feel that they can compete more equally by using these frames.
The game is played using the frame as an aid with the basic rules of Football in 4v4 or 5v5 games.
Cllr Vicki Casserly (FG), whose son James plays for the frame football team, told Dublin Gazette she was delighted to see the pitch open.
She paid tribute to FAI CEO John Delaney and SDCC CEO Danny McLoughlin for the work they put in to see the project come to fruition.
She said: “In fairness to John Delaney, he really believes in the project and he really believed in what we were about and what it could develop, not only for the club but for the county and extend it beyond that.
“He embraces Football for All and was willing to engage in the partnership with South Dublin County Council and once the case was put towards Danny, obviously he could see the benefits of it too.
“Between the couple of parties involved, we managed to bring something that’s really unique to Ireland.”
Cllr Casserly added that the new pitch would make the frame football players feel more of a part of Esker Celtic.
“They couldn’t play at their home ground because the grass wasn’t suitable for the frames,” she said.
“We were fortunate enough that the likes of St Andrew’s and Stewart’s previous to that let us use their hall, but although they were Esker Celtic, they didn’t have that sense of club feeling; being part of the club their club ground.
“They now get to do their training amongst the other kids that were doing their training on their home ground and that’s what a club is about. It’s about everyone having the equal chance to participate.”
The pitch was opened by South Dublin Mayor Mark Ward (SF), who paid tribute to the council, the FAI and the club for the work they put in.
He said: “We would like to thank the club members for their assistance in testing the various surfaces to ensure we get the best possible surface for this new facility.
“We would also like to show our appreciation to the club for being very accommodating during the construction period.”
Also speaking at the event, Paul Cleary, chairman of Esker Celtic FC said the club were proud to be associated with the new facility.
“The facility will enable all the children in the club to be more involved in the sport on a regular basis regardless of their ability,” he said.
“The club will look forward to players travelling from afar to use the facility and open up the opportunity to have games across various clubs.”