A RED letter day in the history of Clare soccer will be ushered in on Sunday morning next when the most successful club in the county over the past quarter of a century play their first game at their new home.
Avenue United, the Premier Division champions elect in the Golden Jubilee year of the Clare Soccer League, will unveil their new Roslevan headquarters for their local derby clash against Ennis Town Rock – 30 years on from the foundation of the club in Mickey Kerins’ pub in Lifford.
“It will be an historic day,” says club chairman Gearóid Mannion. “The club was founded on April 12, 1983 and Sunday’s game will be on April 14, that’s almost 30 years to the day from when we were founded.
“For that reason we really want the game to go ahead. We could do with some rain because the pitch is bumpy in places, but hopefully it will go ahead for what will be the culmination of a lot of hard work by the club,” he adds.
Avenue bought the old home of St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield GAA club in August 2012 for €260,000, a deal made possible, says Mannion because of the economic crash that brought property prices within reach of the club.
“The cloud of the crash had a silver lining for the club in that we were able to buy the land,” he admits.
“Before the boom we had been actively looking to develop a pitch, but when the boom came it fell off the agenda because we couldn’t afford it. It wouldn’t have happened now only for the crash,” he adds.
“It’s great for Clare soccer that a great club like Avenue United now have their own ground,” says Clare Soccer League chairman Donie Garrihy. “They have had outstanding success since their foundation 30 years ago and developing their own ground shows how courageous they are.
“In this day and age when people are afraid to go out and buy a bicycle, Avenue showed what they were made of by paying €260,000 for the ground – others were afraid to do it but Avenue weren’t. Indeed, other sporting bodies made Roslevan more expensive for Avenue United to buy, but that didn’t frighten them. In fact it made them stronger.
“Opening the ground on Sunday, as good as 30 years to the day the club was founded is a great tribute to those involved. The people like the Purtills, the Caseys, Colm Mounsey, Alfonso D’Auria, Gerry O’Connor, Gearóid Mannion and Johnny O’Malley – they have been involved in the club for years and they were the ones who were out in Roslevan getting the pitch ready. It’s typical Avenue and the way they work and they’re a credit to Clare soccer,” adds Garrihy.

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Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on [email protected]

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