These are exciting times for Clonakilty RFC as it plans for the future. The club currently has over 800 members, with more than 600 underage members.

‘We’re expecting to see that number grow again this year based on our own projection on growth over the last few years,’ club membership officer Brian White explained.

‘Over a quarter of that number are girls. With the girls, it’s gone from basically zero five years ago to over 160 now, and it’s going to get even bigger.

‘The pressure that was coming on our training areas, particularly in winter, meant we’d be using everything from other facilities locally, even the beaches in Inchydoney for training of teams because of the sheer numbers. A lot of the training areas with grass are very hard to use in bad weather, so the all-weather pitch will really improve it for us.’

This new 4G all-weather astro pitch will have a transformative impact with the club, and it’s also an important step in Clon Rugby’s future too, to ensure it has the facilities to cater to the needs of its growing membership.

‘The original idea came because we were doing reviews of where the club was going,’ White said. ‘What was happening was our available training base became under increased pressure, especially in winter, so we decided that the best way forward is to have a strategic development plan, including floodlights on the main pitch, which are now being completed.

‘Despite all our grants and our savings, we saw a shortfall towards the target we will need to put into an adequate sized all-weather surface. We decided to proceed with a fundraising draw based around the theme around electric transport to separate it from all the other various draws going around.
‘We have significant grants towards this development already from Sports Ireland, we have a certain amount of our own resources towards it but obviously, to beat the shortfall we need to raise as much money as possible through this fundraiser.’

The hope is that work on the new pitch will begin in late spring of 2023. The new pitch will be built right behind the clubhouse. Exciting times for a club that nurtured the talents of current Munster Rugby players John Hodnett and Cian Hurley, who attended the fundraising launch on Sunday.
It’s not just the town of Clonakilty that will benefit from this exciting new project, explains Brian White.
‘The 4G surface ties into the community resource size of building more sports facilities within the Clonakilty area,’ he said.

‘The club covers not just Clonakilty town but Barryroe, Kilmeen, Ardfield, Rosscarbery. We have a very big hinterland and the population is growing all the time, particularly with families moving out with more working from home.

What was the pain point that Clonakilty needed to be solved?

Clonakilty RFC had an unusual pain in that they needed the Astro turf to protect their current pitches from damage in winter months, the development of Astro turf solved this issue but created another in the form that in dry periods the surface needs to be watered to prevent injury to players from friction. This provided a substantial capital and operational cost to Clonakilty RFC if it were to use a specialist automated irrigation system similar to ones used in international stadia such as the Aviva or Thomand Park. Especially when it may only be needed and the start and end of the playing season.

How Carbery Plastic approached the project

Carbery were conscious of the capital cost involved for the Clonakilty Rugby Club which is a small rural club yet very progressive. The key target was to keep capital and operational costs to a minimum. Another key factor to be incorporated was simplicity of use, a club of volunteers needed a simple to use, easy to maintain system that would run hassle free.
It was decided to introduce a rainwater system using 3 x Carbery 9000 litre tanks interlinked , complete with High capacity rainwater filter, sight gauge , and manual mains top-up.

Outcome for Clonakilty Rugby Club

Clonakilty Rugby Club have a large storage capacity system to allow them irrigate their Astro turf during dry periods without the large capital costs and an operating cost at a minimal level utilising the natural sustainable resource of rainwater.