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Portlaoise Leisure Centre grass and astroturf pitches set to reopen following breakthrough

Leisure Centre

The grass and astroturf pitches in Portlaoise Leisure Centre are set to reopen following a breakthrough.

At a recent meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District, Laois County Councillors were informed that it would be some time in July before the centre was back open.

Substantial remedial works are required inside the building and while they are underway – they will not be completed by June 7 when Covid-19 restriction will ease to see leisure centres around the country to reopen.

However, there appeared to be no reason why the grass and astroturf pitches could not be back in operation – the case for which Portlaoise AFC’s chairman Mick Coleman made on the Midweek Podcast with LaoisToday last week. 

And now Independent Councillor James Kelly has confirmed to LaoisToday that they will now be available to rent once again.

According to Cllr Kelly, management of the Portarlington Leisure Centre will oversee the running of the pitches while Portlaoise Leisure Centre is still undergoing works.

He explained how he, as part of the Combined Counties Football League, and four local soccer clubs, made the case to Laois County Council officials recently.

He said: “Initially, myself on behalf of the CCFL, and members of Portlaoise AFC, Towerhill Rovers, Maryborough and Midlands Celtic met with Donal Brennan of Laois County Council.

“Our seasons at both adult and juvenile level is set to resume from early June and it is imperative that those clubs can use the pitches in order to play their games.

“We, the CCFl, had offered to manage the booking of the grass and astro pitches for the leisure centre.

“However, Donal Brennan has informed us that Portarlington Leisure Centre will take over the running of the pitches.

“While a definitive date for reopening of the pitches has not been set, it is hoped it will be as close to June 7 as possible.

“This is certainly good news and a positive step in the right direction for Portlaoise Leisure Centre.

“I know all of my Council colleagues have been working really hard in the fight to retain the services at the centre for the whole county.

“And this is hopefully the first good step in what I hope will be a bright future for Portlaoise Leisure Centre.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.