Kinnegad Juniors earn FAI Club Mark Entry Level Award
The Westmeath club were formed in 2005 by a group of local people, who identified the need to provide another sporting facility for the young people of Kinnegad.
Brothers Colm and John Gildea, along with Michael Ronan and David Flood formed the club back in 2005. Initially set up to provide football to underage members of the community, the club used the 'Juniors' moniker as a homage to Boca Juniors in Argentina. Colm was the club's first chairman and he chaired the club's committee for 10 years. Colm was succeeded by David Vaz in 2015, who in turn was succeeded by Darren Burbridge in 2017.
They started out playing in the Athlone League in 2005 with two teams - U12’s and U14’s. Some of these players currently play with their senior team. Kinnegad's boys teams have played in a number of different leagues over the years - the Athlone League, the MSL, the NDSL and the CCFL. They have won their fair share of trophies over the years and made fantastic memories along the way.
The club's first girls team started playing in 2013. They nicknamed themselves The Dream Team, playing in purple and white jerseys! Their first game was against Donnycarney, with Kinnegad winning 2-0. They made it to a final in their first year but it was in 2017 when the first girls team brought back silverware to the club. The then U14 group won the MSL Shield on penalties. A number of those girls are now playing for the club's senior ladies team. Coming into the 2020 / 2021 season the club will have four girls teams.
In total they currently have over 240 players signed to the club from their under aged academy with ages ranging from U6's to U10's right through all their schoolboy / girl teams and seniors.
They initially played their football in 2005 on the Old Athlone Road behind the Community Hall. In 2009, they started work on their site on the Killucan Road and through fundraising and local sponsorships, they now have a full size top class senior pitch. Their home ground is called Lagan Park and they hope to eventually turn their dream of a state-of-the-art multipurpose sports and soccer complex in Kinnegad into a reality.
The first phase of the development saw the construction of a sand based, full size grass pitch and car park area, and the erection of temporary changing facilities.
The second phase of their site development consisted of a small sized training area pitch with temporary / mobile floodlighting, boundary netting and high-quality changing rooms and toilets.
In January 2019, with help from a sizeable sports capital grant, they opened their own all-weather facility at Lagan Park. Housing a 7-a-side fully lit astro pitch this was a hugely ambitious undertaking for the club.
2020 has seen many more challenges for many clubs but Kinnegad Juniors were very proud to be the first club in Westmeath to be awarded the FAI Club Mark. They take this as an accreditation for where they are right now but by no means a destination. The club takes this as a challenge to keep up their high standards and will continue to do so. This is all part of their long term plan to make Kinnegad Juniors AFC one of the top soccer clubs for young people in the Midlands.
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