Markets Field, home ground of Limerick FC, has won the 2016 SSE Airtricity League Pitch of the Year Award, following an inspection by the Irish Institute of Sports Surfaces (IISS).
This is the first time that the ground has received this prestigious award. Limerick FC returned to the redeveloped ground in the 2015 season.
The winner of the award was announced following nominations by SSE Airtricity League referees and players, in association with the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland.
The award, which is organised by the FAI and IISS, and sponsored by Greenday Environmental Services, will be presented at a function prior to the FAI Irish Daily Mail Cup Final at Aviva Stadium on November 6th.
George Lee of the Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership (LEDP) and Markets Field Stadium Manager remarked: “We are delighted that Markets Field has received this prestigious award. We would like to congratulate our colleagues in Limerick FC and the ground staff at Markets Field for their excellent work in maintaining the pitch to such a high standard.”
IISS Managing Director Donal Kearney said: “The Pitch of the Year Award has been created to highlight the hard work of the League clubs and their grounds staff. We hope that this award provides due
recognition which will encourage them and others in the league to continue to work towards improving the standards of their playing surfaces which plays a key role into the playing performance of the pitch, the players and to reducing player injuries. Congratulations to LEDP, Limerick FC and the staff at Markets Field on their achievement and our thanks to Greenday environmental for their support.”
Eamonn McShea CEO of Greenday Environmental, who offer a comprehensive range of drainage services for domestic and commercial sectors throughout all Ireland, added: “Greenday Environmental are delighted to support this award in recognition of the hard work which Clubs and their Groundsmen in the SSE Airtricity League put in all year round.”
Fran Gavin, Director of the SSE Airtricity League, said: “I would like to congratulate Limerick FC and the LEDP on winning this award. This is a sign that the partnership between the club and LEDP has worked well. It is fitting that the ground will be hosting Premier Division football again next season. I would also like to thank the players (through the PFAI) and the referees for their assistance in this award.“
Pat O’Sullivan, Chairman of the Limerick FC, said: “We are extremely pleased that the hard work done by all at Markets Field has been recognised by winning the SSE Airtricity League “Pitch of the Year” award this year. Together with the LEDP, we believe it is a credit to the staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to keep the surface in top condition, and I would like to congratulate them.”
The competition began in 2007 following the takeover of the National League by the Football Association of Ireland. Initially it was known as the Groundsman of the Year Award but was renamed Pitch of the Year in 2009.
The previous winners are:
Groundsman of the Year
2007 – Noel Connolly, Terryland Park
2008 – Noel Connolly, Terryland Park
Pitch of the Year
2009 – The UCD Bowl
2010 – Tallaght Stadium
2011 – Turner’s Cross
2012 – Tallaght Stadium
2013 – Waterford RSC
2014 – Turner’s Cross
2015 – Eamon Deacy Park
2016 – Markets Field
Image Credit: Limerick Post