Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Painting the Town red: Athy Town players and supporters celebrate being named Aviva club of the month for December

Painting the Town red: Athy Town players and supporters celebrate being named Aviva club of the month for December

Athy Town chairman Finbar Bride was beaming as his club picked up a cheque for €1,500 after being named Aviva’s Club of the Month for December.

Members of the judging panel were hand to make the presentation at a well turned out Geraldine Park last Thursday evening.

“It’s a proud day for the club. I’m proud to see that all the hard work that has been done has paid off again. Everybody involved has done fantastic work,” said Bride.

Any club can apply to be considered for the award and the club chairman heaped praised on the hard-working Martina Foley for her role in the application process.

“Martina Foley is the person who takes charge of things like this and she does a huge amount of unseen work. We normally only hear about things when they are finished and whether we have won or lost. She does a huge amount of work for the club. There was a huge form to fill out detailing the background of the club, the achievements of the club, the aspirations of the club. Martina filled out a fabulous form and on the strength of that we won the club of the month. It’s a fabulous achievement,” he said.

The award recognises Athy as a progressive club that is seen as a focal point in the local community.

“We started a number of projects back around 2005,” said Bride. “The first one was the floodlights here on the pitch which took a couple of years to complete. Then there was the indoor astroturf pitch, which was very quick in its inception and its completion. We decided to go ahead with that in July 2011 and by March 2012 we had it finished. There was a lot of fundraising involved, hard work, volunteer work and great support from the local community, the local business community, past members, everybody. It was just a great project to be involved in it and the fruition is there for all to see.”

As with any club winning this sort of award, the underage section is of huge importance as work done with children in the area is crucial to any success the club may have.

“The underage section is going really, really well. The backbone of any club is how well your underage teams are going. Credit has to go to the Kildare league for the fantastic league they run. That allows us good, competitive football in an atmosphere of respect. They instil respect in the young fellas which is great to see. We hope that permeates through the whole club from there. There are a lot of people who deserve credit from the Kildare league and our own club for providing football for kids. It’s great to see.”

Athy have no plans for slowing up on their progress and talks are already underway on what their next big project will be.

“We have plans drawn up to develop the clubhouse. It’s going to cost a lot of money so that means the begging bowl will be out again. Hopefully within the next two or three years we’ll begin another new development. We’re caught between buying a new pitch and developing a new club house. I think the clubhouse will probably win because I don’t know where we are going to get money for land at this stage,” said Bride.

As a monthly winner, Athy will now have the chance, along with the other seven monthly winners, to make a presentation at the FAI AGM in Arklow in July in attempt to follow on from Cork club Midleton who won the overall award last year. The winners will receive a cheque for €5,000 and the accolade of Aviva club of the year but for now, Bride is happy to bask in the glory of the monthly award.

“It would be a fantastic achievement to win the overall award. The €5,000 would be very welcome and the achievement itself would be great as well but for now I am very happy that we have got this recognition. It’s a great day for the club, a great day to be involved with the club.”

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