Fermanagh’s only hockey club forced to move to Tyrone

THE only hockey club in the county, has been forced to move its training sessions and matches out of the county as the council pitch the team had previously used has become unfit for purpose. 
The decision taken by Enniskillen Ladies Hockey club earlier this year was not made lightly. The pitch at the Bawnacre Centre had been the team’s home for the past twenty years but the condition of the surface has deteriorated and now it is deemed unfit for play. 
Glenda Eagleson, team captain remarked on how the pitch is now unsafe to play on. “The carpet is worn, there’s damage along the lines and it floods when it rains. From this it’s impossible to host a Saturday match for teams travelling for two hours for the match then to be called off.” 
This season the team only managed to play one match at the Bawnacre pitch before relocating to pitches in Co Tyrone. Glenda reflected on the work George Beacom and his team at the Bawnacre had carried out in ‘endlessly sweeping’ and trying to maintain the pitch to the best of their ability so the team could remain at the Irvinestown grounds. 
However, the lack of facilities in the county is now jeopardising the future sustainability of the Fermanagh team, even at a time that they continue to go from strength to strength in terms of recent match success.
“We want to continue striving for success but can’t do so without a pitch,” Glenda added. “We were in discussion with the council for the past two years. We as a club don’t understand why the council do not have long term plans in place for their facilities.”
Representatives from the hockey club met with the Education Authority on Friday last to discuss the proposals in place for the ancillary facilities at the new Devenish College.
A spokesman for the club said that while the meeting had been positive “unfortunately there will be no immediate action which will benefit the club and there will still be a large gap in provision for the sport within the county”.
When contacted in regard to the pitch at the Bawnacre a spokesman for the council said, “Council Officers are in contact with Enniskillen Ladies Hockey Club and representatives of the Education Authority NI regarding the provision of a floodlit hockey pitch going forward.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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