Albion Rovers become first Louth club to earn FAI Club Mark
Established in 1977, Gus McKeever, Donal Grimes and Johnny McQuillan met in the village of Collon and decided to enter a junior men’s team into the Mid Louth League and that was the start of an incredible journey for the club. Albion Rovers now boasts four Senior teams (three male and one female), who participate in the NEFL, the remaining 23 teams compete in the NECSL, Louth School Girls League and Drogheda School Children’s League respectfully. There is also a healthy conveyor belt of boys of girls from their vibrant academy system.
The club has had many successes down through the years at Senior and Underage levels including Premier League titles, Cups and Shield victories and a Provincial win for the ladies senior team in 2009. A number of their young players, male and female, were selected for local and regional ETP squads, Kennedy Cup and Gaynor Cup competitions. Eoghan Osbourne and Johnny McKeown have represented Ireland at schoolboy level and had League of Ireland careers. Austin McCann played for the senior team for a number of seasons, went on to play in the League of Ireland.
As a club, Albion Rovers are extremely proud of all their achievements. The most notable of these being the development of a community club ethos where there are multiple teams, boys and girls at all ages getting plenty of match time and a senior structure that has fielded three teams on a weekly basis for the last five seasons. More recently, the club have been approved by the FAI to provide a Football for All programme.
For a number of years the club relied heavily on the kindness of local farmers to get their games played but in 1990, secretary James Mullen negotiated the purchase of five acres at Newtown Monasterboice, Drogheda for £13,000. The club named its home Muiredach’s Park after the famous tenth century high cross at Monasterboice. Since the original purchase of the five acres their facilities have grown immensely and now include:
- Clubrooms that consist of two changing rooms, shower area, referee’s room and toilets (male & female). Opened by Peter Reid (former Everton and England International player) in 1996
- 60m x 30m fully floodlit all weather pitch opened by Brian Kerr (former Ireland Manager) in September 2000
- Car Park Facility completed in April 2003
- Purchase of 8 acres of additional land adjacent to the original 5 acres in December 2004
- Development of new pitches including a sand based pitch with spectator stand and floodlights 2007/2008
- In 2017, the club upgraded and extended their existing all weather pitch increasing the size to 76m x 32m and installation of a new LED floodlight system and security fencing.
The club now boast 3 x 11-a-side pitches, 2 x 7/9-a-side pitches and a top of the range all weather astro turf pitch.
Having invested nearly €1,000,000 in their facilities, funding was obtained from successful capital sport grant applications, FAI and numerous fundraising initiatives and the generosity of the local community.
The club would like to take this opportunity to thank past and present committee members, managers, coaches, players, groundsmen, Community Employment and Tus workers and FAI Regional Development Officers for their unending support over the years for helping make Albion Rovers the club that stands before you today.
Albion Rovers would also like to pay a particular thanks to Colin Clerkin from the FAI Grassroots Department for all his assistance in the successful application for the FAI Club Mark award.
The FAI Club Mark is free and optional for clubs and aims to:
• Improve the management of clubs ‘off the field’
• Establish and promote best practice
• Empower and support clubs
• Recognise and reward clubs for achieving high standards
• Increase a club’s capacity to operate effectively and grow football in communities throughout Ireland.
If your club is interested in learning more about the FAI Club Mark please complete this short Registration Form