The year 2020 is a special time at Newport Town A.F.C. and for their community too. This year, marks Newport Soccer Club's 50th Anniversary - their Golden Anniversary.
Founded in 1970, Newport Town AFC has gone from humble beginnings to a modern club with top-class playing facilities and currently has a playing membership of almost 500. The club fields teams from U7 Newport Nippers all the way up to Junior A with participation in three leagues, Limerick District Schoolchildrens’ League for our schoolboy teams, North Tipperary Schoolchildrens’ Football League for our schoolgirl teams and the Limerick District League for our youth and junior teams.
Derryleigh Park the home of Newport Town AFC is located just outside the town of Newport, Co. Tipperary and comprises of two sand-based playing pitches, a 60 by 40 metre flood-lit astro-turf pitch and a brand-new modern clubhouse completed in 2017.
Indeed, soccer or association football, historically goes back further than fifty years, with games being played in O’Mahony’s field prior to the official formation of the club in 1970.
Meeting in O’Sullivan’s snug at the time, the club's founding fathers, who thanks to their hard work and dedication, set the foundations of one of the top clubs locally. The club has grown from a handful of teams that played their games at O’Sullivan’s field at Freigh for decades, to now approaching 40 teams and over 500 players competing at the first-class facilities at Derryleigh Park, Newport.
One of the keys to Newport Town A.F.C. not only existing but flourishing in the fifty years of the club, are thanks in large part to a dedicated and supportive group of parents, guardians, volunteers, donors and sponsors, as well as the players and coaches.
It has a long standing tradition of serving as a unifying force in the community that strives to enrich the lives of the area’s youth and adults by offering the opportunity for everyone to play the sport – regardless of age, ability, gender, race or socioeconomic status. If you can kick a ball and move after it, you can play soccer, and there is a level playing field for your talents.
"It's wonderful and awesome to think about the hundreds of players our club has left a long-lasting and memorable impression on, and the many other individuals impacted by their connection in the soccer club" Martin Lenihan, one of the long serving members of the club and founder of the 80’s kids’ street leagues, recently said.
"To me it's all about giving back to the community," club Chairperson Tom O’Malley stated. "Keeping the culture of the community alive is important as life changes around us. Sport and soccer are a big part of that."
With response to the May 18th 2020, announcement from Football Association of Ireland (F.A.I.), on a pathway for a safer return to football, the postponement of amateur football activities across Republic of Ireland has been extended to at least the 20th July, 2020 for review.
To commemorate their big year, the club will be hosting 50th Anniversary Celebrations, once safe to do so, over this next year. The club will start our year this end of July with our 50th celebration draw ‘€20for2020’. Tickets can be purchased online via the club’s website or from any committee member or sellers.
At a later date over the year ahead, the club will include, a 50th Celebration Dinner Dance, Soccer tournaments for young and young at heart of all abilities, community based social gatherings, football-for-all events, club members’ trips, social media events, charity events, and also commemorating the history of association football in the Newport area.
These celebration ideas are embedded in our hashtag #Derryleigh2020, launched in 2017 as the club constructed their community facility in Derryleigh Park – “celebrating our past and building our future.” This vision will be achieved through linking our community, both past and present in building a social community identity.
"There's undoubtedly been a stability in the leadership of the club, that makes it much easier to get things done. "Fifty years of the club, is a wonderful success, and we will devote this special season proudly honouring the golden anniversary of one of the top-rated soccer organizations in the locality." Ailbe Coffey, Club Secretary.
"I can't imagine being with another club," said Micheál Lenihan, Club Children’s Officer and Treasurer. "I like to work at places I have an emotional attachment to, and Newport soccer club is right at the top of that list."
Undeniably, the club are tremendously proud to be celebrating half a century of the soccer club in Newport. For any sports club to thrive for half a century, there must be continuity, community pride and a love for the organization. Today, a half-century later, Newport Town A.F.C. has grown to become one of the largest and most respected clubs in the locality. Over the coming twelve months, to celebrate, we will be highlighting a series of special events and fundraisers that reflect its community-focused foundation and mission.
The club would like to invite all past and present members of Newport Soccer Club and the local community to join us for a memorable year to celebrate our Golden Anniversary and despite difficult times, comeback stronger as a community.