The new all-weather facility is the latest development in Sligo Rovers’ ongoing ambition to make the Showgrounds the finest League of Ireland venue in the country.
In the last fifteen years the ground improvements have included the Treacy Avenue Stand, 114 bay car-park, new boundary wall, office facilities, VW Bank End, tarmacadam fore-court and a series of other ground improvements carried out under the FAI Licensing process and UEFA regulations.
One of the reasons Sligo Rovers has benefitted from significant grant assistance over the years is its reputation it has earned in terms of high standard projects and value for money for each element of the programme.
The new suite of developments includes all-weather pitch (The Sean Fallon Centre), a full-size grass pitch and two five a side grass training pitches. The new facilities are located alongside the pitch and facilities used by Sligo Rovers FC to compete in the League of Ireland’s Premier Division.
The development cost in the region of half a million euro. In 2012 the Department of Sport very generously allocated €295,000 towards the project under the Sports Capital Programme.
Two sponsors are associated with the development – the Irish League of Credit Unions and Stifel, a GSK company with a long history of employment in the North West. The remaining cost is financed by club resources and borrowings.
The new carpet of the all-weather facility, installed by main contractors Pride Sports, is a FIFA 2 Star Astro pitch measuring 100m x 70m. It is identical to the surface fitted in recent times by Saracens Rugby club, and is widely acknowledged as the highest standard playing surface available.
It was manufactured in the Carlisle factory of Sligoman, George Mullen, whose company SIS Ltd, has installed grass and all weather pitches all over the world.
The All Weather Centre is called after Sean Fallon, a Sligo-born footballer who played for Sligo Rovers and went on to captain Celtic FC and to play for the Republic of Ireland. He was assistant manager to Jock Stein when Celtic won the European Cup in 1967 and he later managed Celtic. He was a legendary figure in the game, known for his courage and his integrity. Sir Alex Ferguson gave the eulogy at his funeral in Glasgow, following his death in January 2013.