Oxford Sunnyside have been granted permission to install a new 3G pitch and floodlights at their Knockramer Park facility.
It is a fantastic boost not only for the club, but the local community as the new modern facilities will be available to any club or school.
“It is a great step forward,” said club chairman Damian McNally. “We have been looking into this for a while now and to finally get the nod is fantastic news.
“It will be a boost for the senior teams like Oxford Sunnyside and Lurgan Celtic who play here, but it is great news for what we call the babies of the club, the young players. We have hundreds of boys and girls and last season had 21 teams in action. At the minute we can only play one or two games a week, with a new artificial surface we can use it seven days a week.
“Having floodlights is also an essential part of the plan and is the icing on the cake which helps extend the playing time over the winter period.”
The upgrading of Knockramer Park is made possible through the Neighbourhood Renewal Project and is handled by the DSD. Work for the venture will now go out to tender and if all things go according to plan work may start on the ground at the end of next season.
“This is also good news for other clubs who want to use an all-weather pitch and during the day we will allow the local schools to come and use it for free. It is a winner for everyone,” added Damian.
Lurgan Celtic manager Ciaran O’Kane welcomed the news and is looking forward to training and playing on 3G.
“There are some people in football who do not like artificial pitches but I think it is the right way to go and Oxford Sunnyside deserve a huge amount of praise for having the foresight to take such a big step forward,” said Ciaran.
“For us it will suit our style of play because 3G helps encourage a passing game. We have gone to other teams who use it and more and more clubs are going down this road.”
Lurgan Celtic interim chairman Maurice Fitzsimmons also welcomed the news.
“All-weather facilities are a must now in the modern game and really opens up a lot of opportunities for the club,” said Maurice.
“The fact floodlights are part of the plans means we can now play matches on a Friday night.