Limerick FC return to Markets Field

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    • #710417

      Representatives of Limerick Football Club, the FAI, Bord na gCon and a number of other organisations will make a presentation to a specially convened meeting of Limerick City Council on Monday afternoon as part of a process that could result in the first division club returning to the Markets Field this summer – 25 years after senior football in the city moved away from what many still regard as its spiritual home.

      Talks about the club switching from its current base at Jackman Park to the greyhound stadium on what would initially be a temporary basis are at an advanced stage. However, the prospect of the move being completed depends on a package being put together for the purchase of the stadium from Bord na gCon and its transformation into a multi-sport municipal stadium.

      The FAI and Bord na gCon recently commissioned Gilroy McMahon, the firm of architects behind the redevelopment of Croke Park to produce “a vision” for the 5.3 acre site and Des McMahon is due to present his ideas to Monday’s meeting.

      It is believed that in addition to Limerick FC, a new rugby league club, Limerick Flame, which plans to enter a team in the British based Championship in 2010 is anxious to play out of a revamped stadium while the Munster Branch of the IRFU and local GAA authorities have apparently expressed enthusiasm for the idea of a 5,000 to 7,000 seat venue so close to the centre of the city.

      Full Story…

    • #806321

      So what is happening to the dog track? It says in the article that it is moving to Dock Road, is that near town?

    • #806322

      I’m very hopeful that this gets the green light.It would be absolutly massive for the club to return to the markets field and build on the good work already done on and off the field last year.

      Not sure if limerick GAA needs another ground.would make the gaelic grounds obsolete.Having said that for league games 70000 capacity would be ideal.Similar arangement perhaps to Pairc Ui Rinn in Cork.

      The dog track will be ideally situated too on the dock road as it will be close to town as well as having good transport links what with the tunnel running close by.

    • #806323

      Preliminary site works such as filling etc have been underway at Greenpark for a few months at this stage. There have been a few rumours flying around that actual construction wont begin for a number of months because the collapse of the property market has affected Bord na gCon’s plans to sell off their Henry Street HQ. They have rejected this claim though!

      This news about the Markets Field is certainly very interesting. Discussions have been ongoing for some time now about its future and its only right that it should remain a sporting venue instead of being sold off for commercial development.

      The site itself is quite boxed in but it would definitely accomodate a tidy 5 or 7,000 seater stadium for soccer or rugby, a GAA pitch could be fairly problematic though!

      In fairness to Limerick FC, they finally seem to be getting their act together, they’ve brought in some good people to oversee the management of the club and have also moved into a new training facility out in Knocklisheen. This proposal would be a huge boost for soccer in the city.

      I also see that Ireland are to play Australia in Thomond Park in August with another friendly set to take place the following Spring!:)

    • #806324

      Lease Market’s Field for soccer, cllr pleads
      Written by Marie Hobbins
      Thursday, 07 May 2009 10:39

      A PROPOSAL to Bord na gCon that the Market’s Field be opened up for soccer for an initial period of three to six months is currently being considered by the organisation.

      At a recent follow-up meeting to an earlier specially convened meeting in March, between Bord na gCon, the FAI, Limerick VEC, the city manager and city councillors, Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon, who initially kick-started a move to negotiate viable options for the future use of the grounds, called for the return of soccer to the grounds.

      “At this latest meeting, attended by the ceo of Bord na gCon, Limerick FC, Mayor John Gilligan, Cllr Kevin Kiely, Cllr Ger Fahy and Cllr Joe Leddin, Bord na gCon made it clear they want to secure a subsidy from the city council before they make the grounds available for soccer,” Cllr O’Hanlon told this newspaper.

      “I differ – it would take months or until next year to negotiate this – and perhaps secure it. I’m recommending they lease the grounds to Limerick FC for a three to six month period or make the grounds available for a number of fixed matches to ascertain what support and backing this would achieve.

      “It’s not just my belief – there’s a huge groundswell of interest and support for a move to restore soccer to its old home, the Market’s Field.

      “I’ve explained to Bord na gCon that if they don’t agree to this, they will lose the goodwill of the 17 elected representatives on city council. We want them to show, as a gesture of good will that they put this to the board of Bord na gCon and come back to us on it. Hopefuly, it will receive overall agreement.

      “If not they will be left with an empty stadium for 12 months or more”.

      As well as a return to soccer, other long term plans for the grounds include the provision of a community centre, additional facilities for the Limerick College of Further Education, a conference centre and shared facilities

      Good to read that the council are openly supporting limerick fc’s return to markets field.Not sure having a go at the current tennants is a good thing though.Could a decent size ground similar to turners cross be built on this site?

      It’s highly unlikely that limerick fc could move in before the end of the season.The place would need a alot of work including installing flood lights, new dressing rooms and the like.

      Am i right in saying that the proposals for the future of the ground would be out sometime during the summer?

    • #806325

      Limerick FC are having a presentation in the Strand Hotel next monday, the 25th of May at 9.30 pm, where they intend present a “vision document for the Market’s field by the FAI”. I’m not sure if it’s invite only.

      I hope they present a workable plan for the future of the Market’s field, and the club itself. It does seem to be a more serious project than in recent years, and could be a great success.

    • #806326

      Limerick to host public meeting (Limerick Leader)

      By Jerome O’Connell

      LIMERICK FC are to host a public meeting this Sunday evening, June 21 as speculation abounds as to the future of the city’s 72-year-old League of Ireland senior soccer club.

      The club have issued an appeal for “everyone with an interest in the future of senior soccer in Limerick” to attend the meeting in The Strand Hotel on Sunday at 7pm. “Due to on-going negotiations Limerick FC is not currently in a position to respond to recent media speculation regarding the future of the club,” explained a club statement released on Tuesday afternoon.

      “However, we can assure everyone that the staff and the players of Limerick FC are fully aware of the situation within the club and the supporters will be informed of any further developments as they arise.” However, the club have accepted that they require a cash injection. “Due to unforeseen circumstances the Limerick FC Board and Management Committee are currently seeking further investment,” explained club’s the statement.

      “The club would like to ask the people of the mid-west to support Limerick FC.”
      The statement calls for a show of solidarity at Jackman Park this Friday night when high-flyers Shelbourne visit Limerick for a crucial League of Ireland First Division clash – Limerick currently lie 12 points behind leaders UCD.

      “It is important that people come out and support Limerick this Friday in Jackman Park against Shelbourne and in their future fundraising endeavours. The club has come a long way in the last 18 months under the current Board and Management Committee.

      Limerick FC now has proposals in place to secure the future of the club through its new base in Knockalisheen and also its on-going aspiration to return to the Markets Field with the assistance of all bodies involved,” the club statement read.

      Rumours suggest that the club will meet with representatives of the FAI today in an effort to determine the future of the club while fears are also rife that Jack McCarthy’s relationship with Limerick FC has come to an end – McCarthy was unveiled as chairman of the club on January 21, 2008 last, but it is now thought that Mr. McCarthy is willing to cut his ties with Limerick FC. Furthermore it is thought that Limerick FC’s chances of making a return to the Market’s Field are dwindling.

      Just three weeks ago Limerick FC board member Andrew Mawhinney told Leader Sport that the future of the League of Ireland outfit would be determined by a high-profile friendly which the Super Blues hoped to host at Thomond Park with Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town heralded as possible opposition – a degree of uncertainty surrounds the possibility of whether that high-profile friendly will now go ahead.

      I thought these kind of problems were a thing of the past but unfortunately that dosent seem to be the case!

      Senior soccer in Limerick is never going to flourish again unless the club can secure a permanent home. Unfortunately though, issues have arisen yet again with plans to move back to the Markets Field!:(

    • #806327

      Limerick FC bid to buy Market’s Field
      Published Date:
      25 November 2009
      LIMERICK FC have made an official bid to purchase the Market’s Field in an effort to return senior soccer to it’s spiritual home.
      Leader Sport has learned that a bid has been received by the Irish Greyhound Board for the Mulgrave Street venue which was last home to senior soccer 25 years ago.
      A spokesperson for the Greyhound Board confirmed that they had received a financial offer for the Market’s Field stadium.
      It is understood that there have been a number of expressions of interest since the announcement last year that the Greyhound Stadium would be moving to a new site on the Dock Road.
      “This latest development is a serious bid, but we are at a very early stage and we have an obligation to our own sport to only sell the site in the current climate so long as a fair price is being offered,” explained Adrian Neilan, Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Greyhound Board.
      “That said we understand that talks may be taking place between the bidders, Limerick City Council and the FAI. If there was a positive outcome to these talks, and the council felt that supporting such a project was in the best interests of our sporting city, the Irish Greyhound Board would be pleased to sell to buyers who would maintain the sporting heritage of the site,” said Neilan.
      Meanwhile Cllr Kevin Kiely, the Mayor of Limerick, has called on the Irish Greyhound Board to show “good will” and give the backers of Limerick FC a long-term lease on the Market’s Field for a nominal fee.
      “I would call on Bord na gCon to give Limerick FC a long-term lease for a nominal figure of €1 per year. I know it’s a commercial venture for Bord na gCon, but they are funded by the taxpayer,” Mayor Kevin Kiely told the Limerick Leader.
      “The Market’s Field will not be ever used for anything other than sport,” the Mayor confirmed.
      “I think a gesture like that from Bord na gCon would create great goodwill and would be a big gesture to soccer in Limerick and to the people of Limerick,” said Mayor Kiely.
      “I have been in negotiations with Pat O’Sullivan, who has taken over the reins of Limerick FC, and I know that Pat is anxious to return soccer to the Market’s Field,” said the Mayor.
      The Irish Greyhound Board hope that the sale of the Market’s Field and their headquarters in Henry St. would off-set the cost of construction of their new stadium.
      The new greyhound stadium on Limerick’s Dock Road is located on the old racecourse site at Greenpark and is expected to open in September 2010.
      Following delivery of the steel girders last month, building work has gathered pace and is now well over ground on the grandstand with office buildings and clearly visible to passing traffic.
      The new greyhound stadium is to cost €18 million and promises to create 100 permanent jobs and will host over 1,750 races a year and have a capacity attendance of 2,900.
      The state-of-the-art facility will feature a main stand with viewing and dining areas as well as a number of bars.
      The stadium will boast a 190 seat restaurant, private hospitality suites and gallery bars.

      Football could be played on that pitch at the start of next season,no prob.Combined with the existing press area,bar,shop facilities,office space,the only thing missing for a premier licence is lights,showers,and dressingrooms(plenty of room under stand,with minimul investment.Given that the doggie crowd are strapped for cash,fingers crossed,this could be a goer.

    • #806328


      A municipal stadium at the Market’s Field in Limerick city, for the people of Limerick is the wish of the Chief Exective of Limerick Football Club.

      Pat O’Sullivan is currently in negotiations with the Irish Greyhound Board to buy the spiritual home of Limerick soccer.

      The residents in surrounding Garryowen are being involved in the negotiations and Pat says it’s about creating a legacy for soccer in the city…

      I would have thought that the idea behind any “Municipal Stadium” is that ownership is in the hands of the local authority i.e. the Limerick City Council and they in turn rent it out to sporting bodies like the Limerick Football Club?

    • #806329

      …its going to be a Municipal stadium for the people of the city…but owned by Limerick FC and for soccer only… but they will be creating a that’s good !!!!

      A modern 8-12,000 seater stadium for all sports would be an excellent asset. There would be plenty of space internally once the dog track is removed. Bad time to be looking for funding sadly….

    • #806330

      Limerick soccer to return to Markets Field with deal to be wrapped up this week

      The Markets Field is the traditional home of Limerick soccer


      Published Date:
      22 June 2010
      By Alan Owens
      LIMERICK FC chairman Pat O’Sullivan will this week wrap up a deal for the purchase of the Markets Field from Bord na gCon for a figure thought to be close to €3m.

      The Ballylanders native, who got involved with Limerick FC in June of last year, has been attempting for some time to put a deal together to return the club to the spiritual home of Limerick soccer, and following a recent meeting with Minister of Sport Mary Hanafin, it is understood that a deal has been agreed in principle between the parties.

      A source close to the discussions between Mr O’Sullivan and the greyhound board has said that “negotiations are at an advanced stage, and both parties hope to reach an agreement this week”. understands that an offer in the region of €2m-3m will be agreed this week.

      It is 26 years since senior soccer moved away from the Markets Field, and Limerick FC have made their return to the site a priority over the last 12 months.

      Mr O’Sullivan revealed earlier this year that Bord na gCon and the FAI had “funded the preparation of a set of plans” for the site, which is located off Mulgrave Street in Garryowen. Gilroy McMahon, the firm of architects behind the redevelopment of Croke Park, were commissioned to produce plans for the 5.3 acre site.

      It is thought that there is also potential for the site to become something of a community centre, as Mr O’Sullivan alluded to in a recent interview with the Limerick Leader.

      “This is a really top class 8,000 seater stadium which could then incorporate the VEC and there are other sports bodies that are interested in it,” he said, adding: “That corner of the city needs something so we are working along those lines”.

      Mayor of Limerick Kevin Kiely, who met Minister Hanafin with Mr O’Sullivan, confirmed that an offer had been made but no contracts signed as of yet, but said he wished to “commend” Mr O’Sullivan for his interest in Limerick soccer.

      “Pat O’Sullivan has done more in 12 months than anyone has done in the last 100 years and I’d like to commend him for that,” said Mayor Kiely.

      The current owners of the Markets Field, Bord na gCon, are set for a move to a new €18 million premises on the Dock Road in September.

      Brilliant news. Havent a clue where the supposed 3 million is coming from (possibly from the regeneration funding) but this will be great for this part of the city. Pat O’Sullivan and the people running Limerick FC need to be commended if this goes ahead. More than makes up for losing out on the Barcelona game.

    • #806331

      As seen in this weeks Limerick Leader.

    • #806332

      And if they do get the Market’s Field . . . .

      I doubt if the LDMC will make Jackman Park affordable to CIE for
      a new central bus station . . . .

    • #806333

      seems the usual delaying crap for loi clubs, Shamrock Rovers’ stadium was put on hold for years (and still has 2 stands to build), Finn Harps have just had to get a planning extension on their new stadium which has barly progressed past groundworks thanks to problems with the grant, Bohs is just a mess, god knows whats happening there anymore. i think the fai & a few local politicians need to start weighing in behind these projects (rather than just getting their face in the groundbreaking ceremony) which would provide a big boost to the clubs, league and towns they are in

    • #806334

      The Irish Times – Thursday, March 3, 2011
      Limerick FC look set for return to Markets Field

      The Markets Field which has been bought by the JP McManus Foundation with a view to making it available to Limerick FC.

      LEAGUE OF IRELAND MARKETS FIELD DEVELOPMENT: THE PROCESS of assessing what work is required in order to get Limerick FC back into the Markets Field in time for the start of the 2012 season will begin immediately after the JP McManus Foundation confirmed yesterday that it had purchased the venue with a view to making it available to the club.

      Welcoming the news last night, club chairman Pat O’Sullivan said that something along the lines of the proposal for an 8,000-seat venue put together by Gilroy McMahon, the firm that designed Croke Park, for the redevelopment of the 5.3-acre site two years ago, could be the ultimate goal in terms of the League of Ireland side of the operation.

      He stressed, however, that the club’s own charitable and community projects would be at the heart of the rejuvenation scheme with spending likely to be focused initially on the likes of a high-quality astro-turf pitch, floodlighting and changing facilities so as to maximise the potential usage of the facility by the city’s wider population while also catering to the first team’s needs.

      “We’ll assess what needs to be done and a priority will certainly be to ensure that the ground meets the requirements of the FAI’s licensing scheme but our plans go well beyond that,” said O’Sullivan. “We see the ground as a tool for community development. We hope that the Markets Field can become a focal point for young people who can go on to become leaders in our community, we want it to be an asset for all the people of the city. That’s what a club and its home should be and if it is, I firmly believe, then the rest will follow.”

      O’Sullivan, who cited a return to the club’s long time home as a major priority when he became chairman a couple of years ago, thanked McManus for providing the more than €1.5 million required to fund the acquisition from Bord na gCon which left the facility in July of last year.

      “People know that I had tried to buy the ground in the past and found it to be out of my reach,” said O’Sullivan. “I think they (the JP McManus Foundation) decided since then that we are people who are trying to do something significant for the community.

      “JP is a man who has always been supportive and I think this sort of thing is personal for him. I’m so pleased and grateful that he has made this tremendously generous donation.”

      Though the funds will come from the foundation, the ground will be owned by the Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership (LEDP), a charitable organisation which also has links to McManus that was founded more than a decade ago in order to fund education, training and other initiatives in the wake of closure of the Krups factory at Roxboro.

      It will grant a licence to Limerick FC to use the ground and seems likely to provide additional funding in the future to help the club with the facility’s modernisation and redevelopment.

      “We have been tremendously impressed with Limerick FC and the work that the club has done with young players, students, prisoners and their families, people with disabilities, all sorts of sections of our community,” said Gerry Boland, a board member at both the foundation and the LEDP.

      “The money required to improve the stadium is not huge and we need to talk about it but the first priority was to secure ownership of the ground for the community.

      “Soccer clubs have a particular ability to get into financial difficulty – where there’s a ground there’s always a temptation to put a mortgage on it. So we’ll make it (the Markets Field) available but we’ll keep an eye on it too.”

      The scale of the funding is significant by the standards of the foundation which has previously funded projects, including community centres, both in Ireland and abroad. Boland says that €200,000 would be the sort of money involved in a more typical project but the scale of its overall spending has grown considerably in recent years as a major scholarship scheme which currently helps around 350 students from all over Ireland gain a third level education has come on stream.

      In recent years the foundation has spent more than €10 million a year on projects but this is unrelated to the funds – put at some €41 million last year – raised by McManus’s pro-am golf tournament and related activities.

      The move promises a realisation of a dream for many Limerick fans of returning to a ground closely associated with the greatest days of the club’s past and, they will hope now, a much brighter future.

      A major venue for sport in Limerick

      THE first recorded use of the Markets Field for sporting purposes was back in 1886 when both the Irish Cycling Association and GAA settled on the place as the venue for events over three consecutive weekends.

      Over the next 50 years it became a major venue for sport, including athletics, and other activities in the city with, in particular, the GAA using it for county finals and intercounty matches while Garryowen Rugby Club called it home with various visiting international sides including the All Blacks playing against Munster there. By the late 1920s, the GAA were developing the Gaelic Grounds and following their departure, the stadium hosted its first greyhound races in 1932.

      Five years after that, Limerick FC began to use it and the club won its first trophy, the Munster Senior Cup, at the ground during its first season in senior football. Garryowen relocated to Dooradoyle in 1957 and Limerick headed for Rathbane in 1984.

      Bord na gCon, which owned the facility by then, left it for a new, purpose-built track at Greenpark last year and despite persistent attempts by Limerick FC to return, its future as a sporting venue was in major doubt until yesterday’s announcement.

    • #806335

      Interesting to see how quickly this could come to fruition. There are plans drawn for some time now but they don’t have planning afaik. It’s in a settled residential area so will the locals want the build going ahead? Also, the stadium is extremely well located, it’s (I’ve timed) 13 mins from the gate of the Market’s field to the door of Nancies by way of leisurely stroll. Would love to see it come into reality, Thomond has been a massive success for Limerick and a facility like this could lead to Irish u21 games being moved to Limerick etc. As it will be open to all sports it could be a great development for the city.

    • #806336

      Some basic info on the proposed redevelopment here, nothing too fancy but would be nice to see come to fruition.

    • #806337

      The plans look great. Not too big and glitzy so that it will never be built/afforded and not too basic or small to accommodate a potential large fan base.

      I’ve heard that a new shop and museum will be located behind the new stand on the popular side.Is this true?I would have thought 1 of the 3 other buildings pictured would be more suitable as they are sited next to the road.It would be strange to locate a museum and shop towards the back of the site where it would go unnoticed and could be potentially be a bad marketing move.

      Anyhow phase 1 should be in place come next season when hopefully Limerick F.C will be back in the big league.

    • #806338

      Decided to upload a few pics of the plans for Markets Field for your viewing pleasure. Have heard lately amongst fans that some ground work has started on site. Apparently for phase 1 a new playing surface, renovation of the existing stand, installation of dressing rooms under the existing stand, upgrading of the existing bar, a new club shop, new club offices and a club museum will all go ahead.

      Haven’t heard anything about planning been granted for any of this yet assuming it’s required.

    • #806339

      Any update on this, a few pictures or anything?

      Fairplay to Limerick FC if it goes ahead

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