Over 250 sports athletes of hurling, rugby and soccer took part in five friendly matches to celebrate the official launch of the largest all-weather sports complex in Europe at the University of Limerick. The €9million sporting facility, which was officially launched by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, T.D., comprises of a multi-purpose, fully-floodlit synthetic grass park containing third generation pitches including two soccer, one rugby and two GAA pitches. The facility also boats the Pavilion building which plays home to the social and preparatory side of sport, containing changing rooms, squad rooms and coaching rooms, together with bar, restaurant and conference facilities for the many celebratory wins that go with sporting achievement.
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Leo Varadkar T.D. said; 'I am delighted to be opening this new state-of-the-art sports pavilion at the University of Limerick. This investment means that UL has one of the best equipped sporting centres in Ireland. The new facilities will be of great benefit to students, and the university is already a sporting hub for the region. Tonight we will see a senior hurling game taking place between Limerick and Clare. Limerick is undergoing a regeneration process and I want you to know that the Government is committed to that, and my Department is doing the very best it can to achieve that.'
The launch event saw Limerick Senior Hurlers take on Clare Senior Hurlers. UL Ladies Rugby up against L.I.T Ladies Rugby in a Rugby Sevens Blitz. Junior teams were also represented as North Munster Under 17 Rugby Academy battled the East Munster Under 17 Rugby Academy. In soccer UL Mens Soccer took on Limerick FC Selection and UL Ladies Soccer played against Lifford Ladies.
UL President Professor Don Barry said that the University plays a unique role in Irish sport. “UL’s reputation as Ireland’s Sporting Campus has truly been furthered with the development of the Pavilion facility. What we have on offer here, academically and through our infrastructure, has drawn students with exceptional sporting ability to our campus to study. This facility joins Ireland’s First Altitude Training Centre, Ireland’s first Olympic size swimming pool and Ireland’s only indoor powered rowing tank at the UL Boathouse. In addition to our sporting facilities, academic practice at UL focused on health education and sports performance is also significant with highly focused research in both areas,” said Professor Don Barry.
David Mahedy, Director of Sport and Recreation welcomed the development in saying; “This is a real life ‘Field of Dreams’ come true; that is a top quality unique facility for every player in every code to experience and enjoy. Training and especially matches can now be accommodated in all weathers and at all times on the University of Limerick’s latest state of the art Sports facility, which we have dubbed our very own ‘Team Park”.
This multi-purpose, fully-floodlit synthetic grass park contains third generation pitches including two soccer, one rugby and two GAA pitches. Third generation all-weather surfaces plays like natural grass and are designed for full contact. Each full-size pitch can be sub-divided to create smaller-sized playing areas for various sports. This is the largest artificial grass development in Ireland to date designed to IRB, GAA and FIFA specifications.
For further information go to www.universityarena.com