Dave Mahedy, Director of Sport and Recreation at UL, pictured at Maguire's Field
THE University of Limerick’s already state-of-the-art sports campus is to be enhanced further with the completion of a €7 million development project at Maguire’s Field and the renewal of the college’s outdoor athletics track.
The on-going development at the 22-acre Maguire’s Field consists of one full-sized natural grass, floodlit GAA pitch, plus two full-sized, floodlit synthetic GAA pitches which can also be used as four synthetic soccer pitches with the additional space available.
There will also be back-to-back hurling walls with synthetic grass provided at Maguire’s Field.
A walking and running track, measuring 1.3km at present with the hope of increasing it to 1.6km, will also be provided around the perimeter of the new pitches. A number of exercise stations are also planned.
David Mahedy, UL’s Director of Sport and Recreation, said that the drive behind the 22-acre project is the growing success of on-campus sports clubs.
David Mahedy said: “It's kinda two projects in one. The athletics track needed to be done, so while you are getting extensive work done, you might as well try and do the two together. It is the same project manager and project team which is great.
“The Maguire's Field project is heavily funded and proposed by the student population. That was part of a referendum held about 2-3 years ago where the students were asked to support a number of projects, one would be a student centre which they are building close to The Stables, one is a climbing wall, which is about to go to planning permission and one would be Maguire's Field.
“It was felt by the student population that these were the facilities needed to develop sport on campus.
“The North Campus development has been very, very successful, but with the amount of teams we have here, not everyone could get on it and we were balancing it.
“It is heavily promoted and financed by the student population and co-funded in the end.
“The track is a UL project. That was an original facility and we needed to upgrade it. We are making a second sprint track as part of the work on the track. The sand pits are also being done.
“When the students return this autumn there will be a whole range of facilities that are world class and brand new. A lot of college’s wouldn’t have these facilities, let alone the 10 acres or North Campus or anything like that.
“The overall cost of the two projects is about €7 million, made up of €6.2 million on Maguire's Field and about €800,000 to resurface the track.
“In Maguire's Field we are doing both grass and synthetic pitches. Our academic term runs from September to April. The majority of our matches are between October and February. That is bad weather.
We have the 10 acres, but for the first time ever this year, owing to the weather, we played a Fitzgibbon Cup game on the North Campus.
“All of UL’s teams will have a training facility. We have 16 Gaelic teams across four codes, that is without going to soccer, rugby and ultimate frisbee.
“It is set aside for students from Monday to Thursday, 5pm to 10pm, solely student use. Then it can go for public use Friday, Saturday and Sunday which is ideal for matches in the likes of January and February.
“The other thing that we are likely to see a lot of is schools games being hosted at Maguire’s Field. In the height of winter it can be hard to get venues for schools games.
“The Maguire’s Field project will be fully completed the end of September. The grass pitch will take the year to grow, so won’t be used in the next academic year. The athletics track work will be ready for August. We will be using it for the Community Games National Finals.”