Bunclody AFC earn FAI Club Mark
The club was founded in 1969 when members of the local youth club helped by local curate Fr. Aidan Jones came together to form the club. The club's first competitive game was played at The Meadows with team captain and one of the founding members Martin Byrne rushing back from his honeymoon to play in goal.
One of the club's greatest admirers and sponsors in those early years was hurling leagend Nicky Rackard whose attendance at training and matches broke down many barriers and instilled a will in the club to make a name for itself on the playing fields of Wexford.
From there, the club moved to a new pitch in Carrigduff from where it operated from for many years before in 2000 building its current facility in Church Road boasting four full size playing pitches, one underage playing pitch and the first indoor 7-a-side astro pitch in Ireland at that time. The clubhouse boasts six changing rooms (all with toilets & showers), referees’ room, conference room, physio room, kitchen and reception and is the envy of most clubs in Wexford and the leinster area. Funding for the project was facilitated by Capital Sports Grants, the FAI, the Southeast Draw and the generosity of the local people.
Realising what the club had built and its location in the region, the FAI made it a Regional Development Centre for Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow and Waterford and has hosted numerous Coach Education Courses and used it as a base for many of its Regional Development teams and emerging talent programs over the years. Due to the quality of the pitches there is high demand for their use.
The club continues to plan and is really pleased to have been awarded the FAI Club Mark and hopes to progress on to the One Star Award. It also hopes to develop its grounds even more by building a Full-Size All-Weather Astro Pitch which will benefit not only the club but hopefully the FAI, Local County teams and many other sporting bodies.
Success on the playing field has also been plentiful with numerous league & cup titles won by both Senior and Underage teams over the years none more memorable than in 1995 when their U18 boys team gained national recognition by winning the Leinster Provincial Youth Cup defeating Clara Town 3-1 and narrowly losing out 1-0 in the LFA Youth Cup against the more illustrious St. Kevin’s Boys. The Senior Men’s team also made history in the Wexford League by winning the Neill O Sullivan Cup back to back in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Since its beginning the club has continued to grow in numbers and currently has two Senior Men’s teams, one Senior Women’s team and 12 Underage boys & girls teams along with an Underage Academy for U7’s with over 150 members all playing football in a fun and friendly environment. This year has seen the club appoint a Director of Football who role is to help with our coach education and implement the club’s player development plan. The club has progressed beyond all expectations over the years and now has one of the finest facilities in the country with plans to improve it even further.
A special mention must made to Sean Carton and Tony Halpin whose tremendous work and support over the years has helped shape the club into what it is today.
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