AFTER 15 years of searching, Dundrum South Dublin Athletics Club signed off this week on a new chapter in their club history as they secured a new clubhouse.
The new “heart” of the club will be in St Thomas House in Whitechurch on the edge of Marlay Park, an old Georgian house based on 15 acres of land that they landed for €1.25m at auction.
It gives the club a unique setting for the club but one that club chairman Jim Kidd says is perfectly suited to DSDAC’s needs.
“The club had been looking for a clubhouse for 15 to 20 years,” he told GazetteSport. “We’re a community based club in south Dublin so we were trying to find land where we could build a clubhouse and a track. Now, the council are building a track in Marlay Park which made it easier for us as we didn’t need to plan for a track.
“This came on the market and it fit perfectly with what we wanted. It was close to Marlay Park which is the heart of our club and suited our every need. We can hold seminars, meetings, small socials and, more importantly, the younger members can have a safe environment to train and run in.”
Among their plans are to set up a cross-country trail around the perimeter of the grounds but Kidd is also wary of not disrupting the idyllic setting too much.
“There’s loads of potential. We now have to put together a plan to take to the council to get the requisite planning permission. It has a lovely environment and what we don’t want to do is ruin that. That is the challenge because it would be a terrible shame to do that.
“We don’t know any club that has done anything like this before. Most clubhouses are purpose built in a sporting environment. We wanted to be close to where the heart of our club is. Despite the fact we compete at Olympic level, we are very much a community based club.
“We have athletes from nine to 90. For a club of our stature not to have a clubhouse, we have put that right.”
In competition, Siofra Cleirigh Buttner, from Dundrum South Dublin AC, won the junior Woodies DIY cross country championship title in convincing style last weekend in Santry Demesne.
She led home an avalanche of clubmates over the line with five of the first six in the combined Under-18/junior race, including Sarah Fitzpatrick who won the Under-18 title, also coming from the club.