BLACKROCK College RFC and Cuala GAA this week confirmed they are entering a ground sharing agreement at the rugby club’s facilities at Stradbrook.
A Memorandum of Understanding that will enable the development of Stradbrook as a multi-sport facility was signed by both clubs on Friday evening and is subject to approval by their members.
The memorandum states that, once approval is granted, Cuala will purchase the lands at the lower section of the Stradbrook grounds. In addition, the ground sharing agreement plan will see the development of a fenced all-weather playing facility, general pitch upgrades, floodlight installation and the provision of a new gym.
John Smyth, president of Blackrock College RFC said: “This agreement is in keeping with our vision to develop Stradbrook as a multi-sport facility and marks the beginning of a new era for Blackrock College RFC.
“The rugby-only business model is not sustainable. We firmly believe that this innovative initiative will support the future development of both clubs.”
Peadar McAdam, chairman of Cuala, added: “This agreement has the potential to develop a world class sports centre, and with inter club sharing agreements, will deliver the facilities including a support network that is required to ensure both codes can continue to grow and perform at the highest levels. It opens up the facility to a much larger community of members and will only serve to promote sport amongst our youth”.
Blackrock’s current membership totals 1,200 consisting of players, coaches, associate and life members. They also operate one of the largest mini-rugby programs in Ireland. The club’s men’s first team compete the AIL Division 1B and their ladies first team are in AIL Division 1.
Blackrock had previously agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with Avoca Hockey Club, who are currently based in Newpark school on Newtownpark Avenue, at committee level with a view to ground and clubhouse sharing.
However, Avoca withdrew from this agreement when they were made aware that Blackrock were considering another potential arrangement.
The hockey club are continuing to look for a partner to help them achieve the objectives of their five-year plan which includes provision for a new clubhouse.
Cuala, meanwhile, had grown to almost 2,000 people consisting of players, mentors, coaches and social members. At adult level, both senior hurlers and senior footballers play at the top championship level.