Multi-Sport Pitches for GAA, hockey, rugby, & soccer officially opened at National Sport Campus

• Multi-sport pitches & sport pavilion provide modern, all-weather facilities
• Work to start on National Indoor Arena in 2014
• Community facility open to the public
• Latest addition in the continuing development of the National Sports Campus

New Multi-Sport Synthetic Pitches facility and pavilion for GAA, hockey, rugby, & soccer at the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown were officially opened by Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar today.

Minster Varadkar also confirmed that work will start this year on the new National Indoor Arena providing the first facility of its kind, indoor athletics, gymnastics and a host of other sports.

The GAA and FAI are also expected to announce in the near future that work will start on their own developments at the Campus in the next few months, as part of the Development Through Partnership plan between the Government and National Governing Bodies of sport.

The latest addition to the National Sports Campus opened today is a multi-sport, flood-lit facility of 12 synthetic pitches for Gaelic games, soccer and rugby, and a full-sized hockey pitch. The facility can accommodate 6-a-side, half-pitch or training pitch configurations as required.

The new multi-sport facilities include eight 6-a-side pitches for Gaelic games, rugby and soccer; a general training pitch, which can be further sub-divided into four 7-a-side pitches; a dedicated hockey pitch; and a sport pavilion with a range of changing rooms.

The pitches are available for use by national, county and club teams, as well as community and sports groups and clubs, schools and the general public, and are operated by the National Sports Campus.


Minister Varadkar said: “This is a tremendous addition to the sports facilities at the Campus. We want clubs and teams from across Ireland to use these top-class pitches and pavilion. These multi-sport facilities cater for Gaelic games, hockey, rugby and soccer, for players at all levels.

“I’m also delighted to confirm that work will start this year on the new National Indoor Arena following the provision of €13 million in the Budget. Over the last 12 months we have already opened a world-class equestrian arena and pentathlon training facilities, and a dry driving centre. The pitches being opened today and the work starting later this year will give us a truly National Sports Campus for athletes at every level, from community level to elite, and from a huge range of disciplines. I am also looking forward to further positive announcements from the NGBs themselves in the coming weeks regarding their own plans for the Campus.”


Joining the Minister in opening the new facility, Mr. Sean Benton, Chairman of the National Sports Campus Development Authority highlighted developments over the past year:

• Completion of the National Horse Sport Arena and the National Modern Pentathlon Centre – a high-performance indoor training facility for Fencing and Pistol Shooting;
• The opening of Irish Sport HQ as an administrative base for 19 National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of Sport;
• The completion of a new National Diving Training Centre – a high-performance dry-land training facility.

Work is also set to start on two turf multi-sport pitches in 2014. Mr. Benton also welcomed the Minister’s support in securing the capital investment to allow work on the National Indoor Arena to commence in 2014, and the imminent commencement of works on the Gaelic games and soccer pitch developments by the GAA and FAI respectively.


Supplementary Information

The Campus ideal has always been to mix world-class training facilities for our elite athletes and teams with facilities which are open to all communities – be they schools, clubs or casual users.

The opening of the Multi-Sport Synthetic Pitch facility marks the first stage of the “community” aspect of the Campus and is already available for hire by the general public as well as sports clubs, schools and community organisations. The facility will also be available for use by national, development and county squads and teams.

The National Sports Campus also intend to commence work in the coming months on two turf multi-sport pitches – which will accommodate Gaelic games, soccer and rugby.

Following the Budget 2014 announcement by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, TD, that an allocation from the proceeds of the sale of the new National Lottery licence would be made available to commence development of the National Indoor Arena included in the Campus Master Plan, NSCDA are in the process of appointing technical teams to proceed with this project and intend to commence construction during 2014.

In parallel with the development of the core National Sports Campus facilities, NSCDA has pursued a strategy of redeveloping and refurbishing the existing buildings on the Abbotstown site for use by the wider sporting community, in particular the National Governing Bodies of Sport. It is intended that those buildings which can be cost effectively refurbished for new uses and which do not constrain the Master Plan for the Campus facilities will be retained. To date this has included the provision of office accommodation for the (FAI), the Football Association of Ireland, the Irish Institute of Sport and the 19 NGBs which are now accommodated in Irish Sport HQ.

The development of the Equestrian and Modern Pentathlon facilities followed this broad approach – i.e. to re-use, where possible and economical, the existing buildings to the benefit of Irish sport.


The National Horse Sport Arena has been established in the Walled Garden of Abbotstown House, a protected structure. It has been developed in accordance with the High Performance training needs of equestrian riders and under the technical guidance of Horse Sport Ireland and its various affiliate bodies. It is the first publicly-owned facility of its kind in Ireland; it will be managed by the Operations Company of the National Sports Campus; and it will be available on a ‘community commercial’ basis to those who are aspiring for success in international competitions.

The National Modern Pentathlon Centre has been established through the re-development of an existing building. High Performance training facilities in the disciplines of both Fencing and Pistol Shooting have been installed. These are 2 of the 5 disciplines which constitute the Modern Pentathlon – the other are Running, Swimming and Horse Riding – all of which can now be accommodated at the one location in the National Sports Campus. There is no other facility in Europe which can facilitate the 5 disciplines of Modern Pentathlon on one site.

The National Diving Training Centre has been established in a refurbished building and is primarily geared towards dry-land training for divers. The primary high-performance pool for Diving is located in the National Aquatic Centre which is already on Campus. This new facility will assist divers in developing an efficient world-class ‘diving-programme’ both in terms of participation and performance.


The concept of a National Sports Campus was first mooted in 1999. In November 2005 the Government approved the commencement of the development of Phase One of a National Sports Campus. A Master Plan for the site of 500 acres was drawn up in April 2008. Planning Permission for the whole development site was successfully achieved in August 2009. Due to the economic downturn it was decided that work on the Campus should proceed on a phased and incremental basis. The anchor building on the Campus, the National Aquatic Centre had already been delivered in 2003 in time for the Special Olympics World Games. As part of the overall development of the Campus on a phased basis it was agreed that the major field sports – Gaelic Games, Rugby, Soccer and Hockey – would each be granted permission to develop their own part of the Campus. The Authority has made limited “Matching funding” available to enable the works to get underway. All works will be carried out in line with the overall Master Plan for the Campus, and work on the development of the Gaelic games and soccer elements of this Partnership Strategy are expected to commence in the coming weeks.


Date: 27. 1. 2014