THE former FCJ convent in Bruff is to be transformed into a state-of-the-art sports facility complete with a museum and top class underage facilities following the acquisition of the grounds by Limerick FC.
The facility, which will be known as the Kirby O’Sullivan Sports, Social and Business Park, will, Limerick FC chairman Pat O’Sullivan says provide the club with a home, and “a place to call our own”.
The significant grounds, which is set on six and a half acres, will allow for the development of grass and artificial pitches, though the chairman is quick to add that it’s not just Limerick FC that will benefit.
“For the club, it will house our offices, it will have a museum, there will be facilities for underage soccer who have no base and who do enormous work in the community. The first team that will go into it is the local camogie team who have used it for years. We’ll allow them back into it again. It will be an integral part of the community and we appreciate the willingness of the community of Bruff to support us in this. They love the concept,” he said.
The grounds will be the new offices and training base for the football club, and they also plan to rent and lease office spaces to local businesses and people.
As well as offices, a state-of-the-art training complex with small and full-sized grass pitches, and a full-sized astro turf pitch will be developed which will incorporate a stand adjacent to the pitches which can be used as a viewing area for parents and fans to view the team’s training and playing.
Limerick FC plan to use the facility to help stimulate Limerick businesses and community groups and already have agreements in place to open parts of the site to local groups and businesses who need a base.
“We’re much more than just a football team that turns up to play, we are passionate about Limerick and the Mid-West region. We want to be central in the everyday life of Limerick people, sharing their love of sport, their community pride and their values.”
Youth development and education is of central importance to Limerick FC.
“There is a school which will be used as part of the project that we currently have which is education in sport,” said Mr O’Sullivan.
The dormitories will be developed and reopened to hold residential sports courses and educational classes and will be available to visiting teams and local sides seeking a high quality residential sports campus.
Limerick FC have already met with local community leaders, business leaders and key stakeholders within the planning authorities and recognise the historical significance of the site.
“The church will be restored; some of it is a listed building. The city and county council and architects have looked at it all. They appreciate the importance from an architectural perspective to preserve it.”
The facility will also provide scope for a significant portion of training at the new campus.
The Kirby O’Sullivan Park has been named to recognise the contribution of the O’Sullivan Family to Limerick FC, through chairman Pat O’Sullivan and his wife Helen’s family, the Kirbys.
“My wife Helen has backed me on this project. She kicks every ball with me. I need her support and I get it, and that’s very important for me. As appreciation of her support to me, we have called it the Kirby O’Sullivan Sports, Social and Business Park,” he said.