Limerick man's Sportiful idea hits target audience

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan

Limerick man's Sportiful idea hits target audience

Patrick Hayes hopes to increase participation in sports

THEY SAY you should do what you love and that’s exactly what one sports mad Murroe man is doing.

Patrick Hayes came up with Sportiful which won best new idea in a regional section of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition in 2014. He continued to develop it since then and it is now officially “live”. The concept behind Sportiful started when he tried to book a five-aside pitch at 6pm on a random Thursday.

“I was trying to find and book a pitch for a game of football. After many back and forth phone calls to different venues, I realised that searching for and booking sports facilities is a painful experience,” said Patrick, who saw that a central source of sports venues did not exist.

“Checking availability was a completely offline, manual, frustrating task. Sportiful addresses these issues by providing people with a simple platform for finding and booking local sports facilities with the best deals,” added the son of Bridget and Seamus from Murroe Wood.

Patrick attended Murroe NS and St Mary’s Secondary School before completing a degree in public administration in UL, post grad in business administration and masters in business management. Patrick combined his studies with playing hurling and Gaelic football for Murroe-Boher GAA, rugby for Newport RFC and soccer for Murroe AFC.

A healthy body equals a healthy mind and he hopes that more will take up activities through Sportiful.

I want people, including some who otherwise wouldn’t have, to participate in sport. There is a great social element – meeting new people and having fun with your friends afterwards. 

“To do that the process had to be simplified. For example on Sportiful, a customer simply searches for a five-a-side pitch in Limerick, books an available time to play, and pays on-line. No more ringing around or email ping pong to different sports venues checking availability,” said Patrick.

His €10,000 prize from the best idea award started him on his journey. The 30-year-old already had five years experience working in technical support and account management for LinkedIn. Patrick recommends if you have an idea to reach out to your local enterprise office who provide an array of supports. Since that investment the project had been self-funded.

“It makes a world of difference when you’re spending your own money on your dream. I wouldn’t take investment off of friends or family because if the idea failed, I didn’t want it to damage relationships,” said Patrick.

Sportiful is officially “live” and he is encouraging sports venues of all sizes to sign up. Delta Sports Dome and his own Murroe AFC have joined.

“My goal over the next few weeks is to sign up as many diverse sports venues in Limerick as possible so that people can use Sportiful to organise a game of 5-a-side, tennis, squash etc easily with their friends,” said Patrick. Find Sportiful on Facebook and Twitter.