A brand new, state-of-the-art 3G football pitch is ready for a summer of action in Greenisland after an investment of more than £800k.
The new facilities will not only host Greenisland FC, but act as a sports hub for the entire community with outdoor gym equipment and further plans in the pipeline.
Thanks to £700k funding from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and £128k from Sport NI, this redevelopment marks the first phase of completion of the dedicated sports hub for the area.
Chair of the Greenisland Regeneration group, Cllr Andrew Wilson said, "We're thrilled to see this exciting project come to fruition here in Greenisland. This 3G pitch project has been on the agenda of the Greenisland Regeneration Group for a number of years and it's great to see the top-class facilities come to life. Delivering the project was a collective effort from the football club and council and the club committee deserve a lot of praise for their hard work.
"It's another example of council investing in sports and recreation to benefit everyone and continue to develop good health and wellbeing among all our citizens here in Mid and East Antrim. This new pitch will not only benefit the local club, but also the entire local community who can avail of the outdoor gym equipment and get outdoors just in time for summer."
A number of special guests, including the Mayor, councillors, partners and players all welcomed the news at an official launch event this week.
Sport Northern Ireland Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown added: "We're delighted to have worked in partnership with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to deliver this fantastic new facility for grassroots football.
"The aim of this project was to create a facility which would address the needs of the Greenisland area, the club is a progressive club which has had many successes on the field and it's wonderful to see the hard work that the club has delivered with their outreach programmes such as the Greenisland Bears for players with a disability, mental health programmes as well as work with local primary schools and the development of girls football.
"Sport Northern Ireland is pleased to have provided support to the development of this facility, and we look forward to seeing the impact it makes in promoting and developing local sport."
Greenisland FC players, old and new took to the pitch to show off their skills at the launch event in a special Greenisland FC v Greenisland Irish League Select match.
Club Chairman Clarke Frampton said: "We're really impressed with this high-spec facility which will not only help develop the club's talent, but offer a platform for further talent to enjoy and come up through the ranks.
"This brand new facility will help us continually drive and develop athletes. Boasting over 20 competitive and non-competitive teams with over 300 players, Greenisland FC continues to grow as not only a football club but as a thriving community hub. Thanks to our funders, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Sport NI and Greenisland Regeneration Group for getting behind this much needed project."