Unsung Hero: Aidan is keeping O’Connell Park shipshape

FOR the best part of a decade, Aidan Smith has been tasked with the highly taxing job of club groundsman.
Aidan, a former Derrylin O’Connell’s footballer, turned his hand to the coaching side of the game after his retirement from playing football before being asked by the club committee to take on the challenging role of Club Groundsman.
As part of his role, Aidan is entrusted with the upkeep of the two playing pitches in O’Connell Park and he admits that with the size of both pitches, this can sometimes prove to be quite a challenge. 
“Over the past two years, I have been solely responsible for the pitches in terms of mowing and lining.”
“It can be very time consuming as it is quite a big area to cover. During the summer, there is that much football now when you take in all of the different teams such as the underage teams and the ladies teams. Any evening that you could go down to the pitch you might see some teams on both pitches so finding the time to keep the pitches in good shape can be difficult.”
In recent time, O’Connell Park has been going through a number of extensive development projects and Aidan has been playing his part in some of the new works, including the redevelopment of the handball alley which was created in the original development in the early 1970s.
Looking back over some of the projects he has been involved in during this role of Club Groundsman, Aidan feels very privileged to be able to help his local club in this capacity and he admits that the number of volunteers in the club make his job that bit more easier.
“During my first while as groundsman, I was one of a number of people who started a project to renovate the handball alleys. It had been lying derelict for a while and we turned it into a skittles area. We have some lights and pictures up on the side of the wall and it is a good facility that can be used for sports days and events like that.”
“It is great to be appreciated but I am just one of many here in the club. There is a great amount of volunteers down there in a number of different capacities right from the coaches to the club executive. You can never have enough volunteers.”

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