Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin will officially open the pitch on April 17 at 1.30pm, marking the biggest investment to date for the club, coming in at around €500,000, provided for by a combination of sports council grant, club funds and contributions from both the Leinster ladies and Leinster men’s hockey branches.
The club had its origins back in 1928, the original club, known as the North Kildare Cricket and Tennis Club was brought into existence in 1928 by the combined efforts of a handful of enthusiastic local men and women and an amalgamation of clubs, Firmount (Clane) and Lucan.
Immediately after the club was set up, hockey was played at the grounds with men’s and ladies team playing in the Leinster league. The hockey pitch at that time was a mucky field out the back of the club and was distinctive amongst Leinster pitches as it had an orientation running from South East to North West and a significant incline of 40 degrees.
The original club house was little more than a small wooden shack with not much more room than the current dug outs; however, the club house existing today was built in 1975 and since then has undergone extensive refurbishment and is a far cry from its humble origins.
The hockey club has come a long way since the 1920’s and currently has four ladies squads and one men’s squad.
The ladies firsts won promotion to Division 2 last year, their highest division in club history and are currently in with a chance of a playoff position for promotion to Division 1.
The completion of the new pitch marks a new era for hockey and hockey players in the North Kildare area and, in tandem with the clubs ‘Senior’ status, provides the platform for future development of the sport of Hockey outside of Dublin.
The men’s section have become increasingly integrated within the overall club in the past few years with investment in coaching and fitness training. Men’s coach, Richard Coonan sees “the promotion of the new pitch and the excellent club facilities as an important element to achieving squad expansion and improved performance”.
In addition, he acknowledges the excellent support given to date by the men’s Leinster hockey branch, not only in their financial support but in their recognition of the need to support the sport of men’s hockey outside of Dublin.
Indeed, he sees the significant investment of the men’s Leinster branch as a statement of intent for the future success of hockey in the North Kildare area.
The festival begins with important league fixtures for the ladies and Men’s first teams on the Saturday, while the Maws will also host three men’s Leinster finals on the Sunday - the Avoca U-21 Cup, Neville Davin Cup and Leinster Minor Cup deciders.
The official opening will be followed by a Six-Aside hockey tournament and then an end of season party. All are welcome to come along and enjoy the festival events.
* Words courtesy of Ali Robinson
** Anyone interested in playing Hockey with North Kildare or finding out more information on sports facilities offered at the club should contact Nick on 0860515295 or Ali on 087 2583522.