Clongowes Wood College Announce Project With PST Sport

Kieran Donaghy PST Sport and Chris Lumb Headmaster Clongowes Wood College

Clongowes Wood College, Clane, Co Kildare has announced that Tralee based PST Sport has been awarded the contract to resurface the all-weather pitch at the school. PST Sport is the leading Irish company in this specialist field with offices in Tralee, Dunshaughlin and London.

The project will involve the upgrading of the pitch with the very latest surface in synthetic turf technology. The completed pitch will comply with World Rugby’s 2017 handbook for synthetic grass pitches. Work will begin on the project in late November and will be complete in January 2018.

The current artificial surface in Clongowes is used widely by students at the all-boys boarding school, as well as local sports groups. The pitch, known as the VMP, is named after the late Vinnie Murray from Clane, Co Kildare – former Assistant Headmaster and Senior Cup Winning Rugby coach at the College and who passed away in 1999.

The decision to engage PST Sport to bring the VMP surface up to the highest World Rugby standards constitutes a significant investment for the school, one which was made possible in part by the generosity of parents and friends of Clongowes.

Once completed the facility will be available for use by the local community sporting groups and visiting teams from schools and clubs. The redevelopment of the VMP will come just weeks after the opening of the new 25m indoor swimming pool at the college.

“The VMP all-weather pitch is one of our key sporting facilities here at Clongowes and we were keen to ensure that its redevelopment would bring it to the highest standards. We are happy that PST Sport will deliver a top-class surface that will be enjoyed by our students and the local community.”

Mr. Chris Lumb, Headmaster at Clongowes Wood College

“This really is such an exciting project for us; our entire team is ready to deliver a world-class facility at Clongowes”

PST Sport’s Business Development Manager, Kieran Donaghy

“We are extremely excited and honoured to have been awarded the contract to upgrade the VMP surface here at Clongowes Wood College. We’re looking forward to bringing our cutting-edge techniques in artificial grass installation to Clongowes and to playing our part in the development of future sports stars at such a prestigious school”.

Colin Teahan, Managing Director of PST

About Clongowes Wood College SJ

Clongowes Wood College SJ is a leading all boys boarding school in Clane, Co Kildare. Founded in 1814 by the Jesuits, the College has been at the forefront of Irish education for over 200 years. The school of 450 boys from Ireland and further afield provides an all-round boarding education with emphasis on academic development, a wide ranging co-curricular programme and the personal growth of its students in the Jesuit ethos.

 

Photo: Clongowes Headmaster Mr Chris Lumb with Kieran Donaghy, Business Development Manager PST Sport.

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Sports Capital Grants

Sports Capital Grants projects

2017 has seen a record number of Sports Capital Grant applications seeking funding from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s Capital Programme. This year over 2,300 clubs and sports organisations, the highest number ever, completed applications seeking financial assistance to develop sporting facilities. In fact, such is the demand that this year’s Sport Capital Grants budget has been doubled to €60 million, a very welcome decision by the Minister for Transport and Sport. This will have a significant impact on sporting facilities right across the country.

In recent years PST Sport has worked with clients on numerous projects that were made possible by the Sports Capital Programme. Our services include initial consultation and design, drainage, base works, civil engineering, right through to installation. The team works closely with each client ensuring they are fully involved in, and guided through all stages of planning, design, installation, launch and maintenance. To date our feedback from clients has been exceptional – view TESTIMONIALS.

Our Sport’s Capital Grant assisted projects have included:

  • A full size artificial grass hockey pitch at Midleton College
  • Development of the astro turf pitch at Albion Rovers FC
  • Floodlights for a full-size pitch and a 3790m artificial grass pitch at St Mochtas FC
  • A 5,600m artificial grass pitch at Cahir Park FC including groundworks, fencing, netting and floodlights
  • Full size and training pitches at Mullingar RFC including groundworks, shock pad, 60mm carpet and fencing
  • 3,150m artificial grass sports surface at Tullow Community College
  • Full size pitch, floodlights, fencing and netting at Cherry Orchard FC
  • A 6,650m astro turf pitch at Ballyoulster United AFC
  • 2,000m pitch at Skryne GAA
  • Pitch development at St Kevins Boys FC including 7,650m artificial grass, groundworks, fencing, netting and floodlights
  • Full size football pitch with 7,500m artificial grass carpet including shock pad at Stella Maris FC
  • 2,400m resurface at College Corinthians FC
  • 2,200m pitch at Doheny GAA, including groundworks, fencing, netting, and floodlights
  • 1,000m artificial grass pitch, including groundworks, fencing, netting, floodlights and retaining walls at Ballyhar Dynamos
  • 1,600m artificial grass pitch with groundworks, fencing, netting, floodlights and a hurling wall at FON Ballymacoda
  • Full size 7,700m pitch at Dublin’s Larkview Boys FC including groundworks, shock pad, fencing and ball stop netting

Check out the short video below highlighting some of our artificial grass installation projects aided by the Sports Capital Programme.

If you have a project you would like to discuss with us we would love to hear from you. LoCall: 1890 253 313 or Email: info@PSTsport.com

You can view our full list of PROJECTS here.

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How Tralee Company is Helping Irish Sport Beat the Winter Blues

Artificial grass pitches helping clubs beat the winter blues

Thanks to Tralee Outlook for the recent coverage highlighting the importance of artificial grass pitches, especially at this time of the year.

As we head into the winter months it gets harder to arrange training and practice matches on pitches due to the weather. Artificial grass pitches around the country become the go-to choice for clubs and schools to ensure that team development can continue even as the longer nights draw in.

And it is this ideal that drives on the Tralee-based PST Sport team who have established themselves as the leading installer of artificial grass pitches in Ireland.

“Week-in, week-out we saw matches being called off due to waterlogged pitches. We recognised straight away the increasing demand for high quality 3G pitches and we felt we could fill this demand and give everyone a level playing field, and let them play the sport they want to, rain or shine.”

said PST Sport’s MD Colin Teahon.

Having major clients such as Chelsea FC certainly proves how PST Sport are blazing a trail in the global sporting world but as Kerry GAA legend and PST Sport Business Development Manager Kieran (Star) Donaghy explains, the company’s commitment is to help to develop sport across all levels, whatever the season:

“Especially at this time of the year alot of teams are hampered by the weather and in turn, poor playing surfaces. Personally, I’ve gone through the slog of trying to prepare for games or the season ahead during the winter months and it can become a real torture due to the weather. You might end up with training getting cancelled or having to move pitches at the last minute because the pitch you’re meant to be training on hasn’t been able to handle those two days of driving rain.

On an artificial grass pitch you’re guaranteed the same playing experience regardless of whether it’s been raining solid for the week or not. Consistency of play is excellent. If you’re getting a reliable, consistent ball into you each time, it can only improve you as a player”

The cutting-edge installation techniques that PST Sport use mean that their playing surfaces meet the requirements of major sporting bodies. The company also specialise in the installation of sports floodlights and have recently won the contract to install floodlights at the new Kerry GAA Centre of Excellence in Currans.

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PST Sport Development at Beckett Park, Cherrwood

Development of artificial grass facility at Beckett Park Cherrywood

PST Sport is playing a key role in Cherrywood, one of Dublin’s most significant developments in recent years. Once complete, Cherrywood will be a self-contained business, leisure, retail and residential centre. The development has a pivotal location, set on a 400-acre site, adjacent to the M50 and approximately 8 miles south of Dublin City Centre. In addition to 4000 new homes, offices and retail space, there will be three substantial sized parks, set over 82 acres which will act as key recreational and environmental amenities.

Full Size 3G Pitch, 6 Tennis Courts, Multi Use Games Area & More

PST Sport will be working alongside John Cradock Ltd /Jons Civil Engineering who were extremely impressed at the level of expertise and experience demonstrated by our dedicated team coupled with our commitment to delivering high-quality artificial grass pitches and playing surfaces. Our use of custom tailored and cutting-edge installation techniques which we’ve demonstrated via numerous large-scale projects throughout Ireland and the UK meant that PST Sport was the strongest candidate. Check out some of our previous projects here.

PST Sport’s mission is to be part of sports development at a grassroots level and to help enhance the lives of people through the provision of high-quality, all-weather, year-round sports facilities. Being part of such an exciting project keeps us fully in line with our vision of creating a healthier and sports-focused society. We look forward to delivering our premier artificial grass pitches and playing surfaces to this region of South County Dublin.

The Project

Artificial grass facility at Beckett Park, Cherrywood

The project at Beckett Park is for the delivery of a 7000 sq/m 3G artificial grass pitch with shock pad, full groundworks and fencing. The project also includes the installation of a 600m MUGA suitable for 5-a-side soccer, hockey, basketball etc. as well as a bowling green with 4 no. lanes, each 15x4m. In addition, we will be constructing 6 ITF approved tennis courts with all necessary groundworks and fencing.

On completion, the surfaces will meet the highest global accreditations for football, rugby, GAA and tennis. Similar to PST Sport’s full size 3G pitch installation at Chelsea Football Club’s Cobham Training Ground, Cherrywood residents will benefit from our highly advanced artificial grass systems and installation techniques.

If you have a project and would like to see how PST Sport can help, contact us for a free consultation.

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How Artificial Grass Pitches Play a Key Role in the Development of GAA

Kieran Donaghy & Dara O Cinneide talk about artificial grass pitches

Watch as PST Sport’s Kieran Donaghy talks to TG4 Presenter & former GAA star Dara Ó’Cinnéide about the key role played by artificial grass pitches in the development of GAA today.

Kieran outlines the importance of elements such as firm underfoot conditions for players and highlights how PST Sport undergoes rigorous testing from GAA authorities in order to mirror the playing experience of Croke Park on matchday.

They also discuss how GAA clubs of all sizes around Ireland are now incorporating artificial pitches into their current and future developments with the demand for high quality facilities increasing as the levels of training and preparation for GAA at all levels continues to grow and evolve.

Also shown in the video are artificial grass pitches that PST Sport constructed for Le Chéile Secondary School (full size GAA pitch), Mullingar RFC and Cherry Orchard FC.

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Meet PST Sport’s Intern – Vicky Teh

PST Sport's intern Vicky Teh

The PST Sport team have plenty of experience and quality education behind them. With each member of the team having strong knowledge of their field, whether in carpet installation, groundworks, finance, sales, and marketing, or quantity surveying, PST Sport is the ideal company for young, talented students to learn the tricks of the trade and gain valuable, real-life experience in the work force. Vicky Teh, who joined the company almost a year ago on work placement, is proof of just that.

Vicky’s Story

After completing a Diploma in Quantity Surveying, Vicky decided to study abroad for her degree programme. The counselor team from her previous college in Malaysia, Tar University College (TARUC) Penang Branch, recommended that Vicky further her studies (Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Quantity Surveying) in Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), Ireland. This honours degree programme consists of a 12-month work placement in Year 3 of the programme which is called an ‘Active Learning Year’, which provides the opportunity to gain experience in the real-life construction industry. This is what brought Vicky to PST Sport.

Vicky has been working at PST Sport since October 2016 and has become a very valuable member of the team. She says it was a challenging starting point to study abroad in Ireland. Jokingly, Vicky claimed she had difficulties in understanding the Irish accent because everyone talks too fast. However, after a couple months of being treated well by the team and becoming more accustomed to the local accent, she is enjoying her time in Tralee, saying that her overseas journey to this point has been “unforgettable and life-changing.”

Her thoughts on artificial grass

Vicky admits to her lack of knowledge of artificial grass before working at PST Sport. In her home country of Malaysia, artificial grass is rarely seen, which sparked her curiosity about the product. After almost eleven months on placement, Vicky now understands the need for artificial grass and even encourages people in her home country to use it, as she says,

“As far as I can tell installing the artificial grass surfaces is convenient for everyone. This surface increases the awareness of the long term environmental and economic benefits. It is easier to maintain and pesticide-free. Unlike natural grass, artificial grass does not require any treatment with pesticide or fertiliser.”

“Furthermore, artificial grass has a more even playing surface than natural grass. This shows that the durability of artificial grass can minimise injuries. A good drainage system also helps to increase the playability of the artificial grass. It can be played on all the time no matter if it is a sunny or rainy day because a wet and muddy field may ruin a sports activity. This situation always happens in Malaysia and it spoils the fun. I hope that this great technique of artificial grass installation can be implemented in Malaysia in the near future.”

PST Sport

Vicky views PST Sport as a company run by a responsible, experienced and effective operation team. She says, “Our team is friendly and helpful on all inquiries about the installation of artificial grass, floodlights, fencing, and maintenance as well. We offer a high quality service on each pitch and garden installation to meet clients’ satisfaction. This ensures PST Sport becomes more popular around Ireland and UK.” Our slogan, ‘Your Pitch, Our Passion’, represents the company well, according to Vicky, as she says, “PST Sport take responsibility in taking care of all your pitches and lawns to ensure everyone can have fun with their family and friends. PST Sport is your best choice for reliable artificial grass.”

Vicky has become a vital part of what we do at PST Sport and a great person to have around the Tralee office. Everyone at PST Sport is glad to have her on board with us.

To meet the rest of our highly-skilled team, click here.

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Kieran Donaghy – His thoughts on Kerry football, artificial grass pitches, Irish basketball, and what the future holds

Kieran Donaghy - PST Sport Business Development Manager

• Q: How is life Kieran?

A: Good, thank God, work is going great. I have a two-year-old that loves my attention when I get home but hates when I have to head off to my other job, “training”. She thinks driving a choo choo train is what I’m at and wants to come along for the spin! Baby number two is also on the way so it’s all go in the Donaghy household at the moment. Kerry football is going great and we are looking forward to Croke Park and that’s always good.

• Q: Speaking of Kerry how are you finding being back with the Kingdom considering in your autobiography you gave us the impression that last year was it?

A: I did think last year was it. I told Eamon at the start of the 2016 season that I would make one more big push. Being dropped for the All Ireland Final as captain in 2015 hurt as I felt I had a bit more to give on the day so it was hard to retire on that.

I got in the best shape possible for 2016 and played the whole league and championship in mid-field and did well out there. To be honest when we beat Tipperary in the Munster Final that year Eamon first planted the seed in my head to come back in 2017.

It wasn’t a straight forward decision though, work was, and is still very demanding with PST Sport growing fast. I had my autobiography coming out in October and I had already told my family that the 2016 championship would be my last. I was also in the middle of setting up the new basketball club in Tralee, the Garveys Warriors, so there was a lot going on.

• Q: Did you not have enough on your plate without starting a basketball club?

A: The foundations were there for top flight basketball in Tralee. I didn’t think I would be playing football in 2017 and knew there was only a few more years left in the body so I was determined to get it done while I could still play. I could see it every year at my basketball camp that there was massive love for the game in the town. The kids are now getting LeBron dunking and Steph shooting the lights out on the phones every day on social media. When I was young I was at the complex to see the Tigers and people were nearly hanging off the rafters. It was my dream to play for the Tigers, not Kerry. Now the kids had nothing to dream about and I was hell bent on changing that.

I got Terry O’Brien, former chairman of the Tralee Tigers involved, as well as St Brendan’s chairman Pa Carey and Tralee Imperials chairman John Dowling who have 700 kids playing between them. They’re rival clubs in the town but we brought them together and structured linked them. It was like a UN peace keeping mission at times but people saw the vision I had and thankfully we brought it together.

• Q: How did you find being back out on the courts of Ireland?

Kieran Donaghy - Tralee Warriors

A: I loved it, especially as I didn’t think I would ever play super-league basketball again. The travel was tough I must say as we had 9 games in Dublin, one in Belfast and the end of season playoffs were in Donegal. In saying that, basketball was good to me, I didn’t pick up any injuries, and we trained hard 4 times a week, plus games at the weekend. The up side to playing was the body was in good shape and I felt sharp enough to consider being a Kerry player again.

Q: When did you actually make the call on another season in the green and gold?

A: I met Eamon in January 2017. He said I looked fit and we talked about where my hunger was at. I felt it was still there. He said to get to the gym with the Kerry boys 2 nights a week and said to keep up the basketball at weekends. I was happy to do that as I had given the Warriors total commitment at the start of the season. I felt I owed it to my teammates and fellow committee members to see the season out and give it everything I had. We ended up winning the Champions Trophy at the end of the season, that dragged out the basketball season by another two weeks missing the end of the football league. Coming down on the bus from Donegal after winning the trophy my mind was already drifting to Kerry football. I found out on twitter @starryboy14 that Kerry had beaten Tyrone and qualified for the league final against Dublin.

• Q: You made that squad for the final, were you expecting that?

A: No, is the honest answer. Eamon called me and said to come in for a gallop and see how I felt. I hadn’t touched a ball in months. The first night back training with the group I was like a young minor all over again, the excitement, the tension, the question marks. Was I still up to this level or will I get shown up? I didn’t eat a bite with the nerves all day. Maybe I should do it more often as I flew it, caught every ball, kicked points and set up a goal. I got the nod as the last man on the panel. I felt kinda guilty at first as a younger player who had trained all year was now missing out, but Eamon said ‘you are a viable option so be ready’ so that put my mind at ease.

• Q: How is the season going for you so far?

A: The season is going great, really enjoyable to be honest. There’s a great young group in there and they put together a great finish to the National League. Making the squad for the National League Final was a massive lift to the confidence considering that it was such a big game. I didn’t get a run on the day but I didn’t care. The experience of watching the boys grow as the game went on and eventually beating a great Dublin team going for 5 National Leagues in a row was massive.

Q: That’s 3 or 4 National Leagues for you, are they important to win and what stock do you think is put on the League?

A: I think it’s getting more and more important every year and I think its stock is rising all the time. Division one is hard to win, and the games it’s producing year in, year out, over the last few seasons have been top drawer.

Q: Did you go back to the club football after the league?

A: I did and it’s always great to get back to the Stacks boys. The following few weeks after the League are tough because you are trying to balance both club and county. Training was ramped up big time with Kerry to get work into the legs in that block of training. On top of that, the fact we had big county championship games with our club at weekends adds more pressure again. When the GAA eventually get down to restructuring the GAA season that’s the biggest challenge they have on their hands, how to make the season better for both the club and county player.

Q: The Munster championship semi-final VS Clare in Ennis looked dodgy at half time, how were you feeling at that point?

Kieran Donaghy PST Sport - Kerry v Clare Munster Final

A: I was a bit on edge, but the boys were calm in the dressing room. It didn’t look great but it looked even worse when Clare rattled the crossbar 5 minutes into the second half, that would have put us down 5 points with a man short. Donnacha was unlucky to get sent off but again everyone rallied and the subs that came on all did their job. Stephen O’Brien was brilliant and his goal was the dagger that eventually put Clare away. Ennis will always be a tough place to play so to get out with a 7 point win was huge and another step in the right direction for the team. I was happy with the way I played when I came on, made a big catch and didn’t make any mistakes.

Q: Were your skills rusty or were you fully up to championship speed at that stage?

A: I think I was up to speed but there’s always room for improvement. Maurice Fitz worked on my kicking at the posts after we had finished a few sessions in the weeks leading up to the game. That gave me good confidence. There was an evening where Bryan Sheehan was recovering from injury and was kicking the ball in to me. Maurice came up to put manners on me. I didn’t win a ball for a while, he was hanging out of me, pulling me, bumping me as I took off for a ball. I was getting half thick but he is a selector so I couldn’t do much. Eventually I won a few and then he shouted out to Bryan, “3 more balls so Bryan”. I was only getting into it so was a little disappointed but I did damage with those three and was delighted with myself as I headed to the dressing room. I found out the next night that Maurice had damaged his medial ligament, no wonder I got them last few balls so handy!

Damien Ryle from our strength and conditioning team did a lot of work with me on winning a ball out in front, and above my head, landing and taking off at pace. He also worked on me slipping passes to him at speed. He took me on to the 3G synthetic pitch in Mitchells GAA complex and did a lot of speed work with ladders and hurdles to get me up to pace, he is a tough drill sergeant!

Q: Speaking of artificial grass pitches, what was your first experience with that type of surface?

A: My first real experience of artificial grass was as a kid on the old style astro pitch. I was 12 and on my summer holidays with my uncle in Greystones. I thought I was playing in Wembley. We had nothing like it in Tralee at the time. Now we have 7 or 8 varying training size astro pitches in the town, 6 of them PST Sport installed in the last few years. Our latest artificial grass carpet is head and shoulders above anything else out there. It’s very exciting for me playing a key role in improving sports pitches for generations to come.

Q: Would the Kerry GAA team avail of astro turf pitches?

A: We have used astro surfaces a few times with the Kerry senior team. We used a synthetic grass pitch up the country for a warm up before a game in 2010 and the boys loved it. We use a local artificial grass pitch in Killarney for training in January and February There are times the natural pitch just can’t take an Irish winter but thankfully we were able to get on the astro pitch and get the hard block of training done.

A full size synthetic grass pitch is being built in phase two of the new state-of-the-art Kerry center of excellence project in Currans. This will ensure the Kerry teams to come will always have a pitch that’s playable 24/7, all year round.

Q: If you had a choice, would you train on artificial grass or natural grass?

A: With Kerry we are very lucky to be able to train at Fitzgerald Stadium during the summer. It’s one of the best pitches in Ireland as it’s so well maintained, watered, spiked and cut regularly. It’s a dream to play on.

However, other than the top stadiums I would choose an artificial pitch every time. When a natural pitch is wet and heavy in winter it leads to muscle fatigue and that can bring on an injury. Also during the summer if we get a few days/weeks of warm weather, the natural grass pitch can go rock hard in a short space of time, again leading to injuries like rolled ankles, sore backs and calves. I’ve discussed this at length with senior and underage managers in clubs where we have installed training size pitches. My advice is to take the team on the artificial pitch for most of the session, drills etc. Then, if you have the numbers and want to play a game take them out to the natural pitch for that.

Q: You mentioned Fitzgerald Stadium and what a great surface it is, the Munster Final was held there again this year against Cork, what was that like?

A: It’s always great to play Cork. A Munster Final versus the Cork boys in Killarney is my favorite occasion outside of an All-Ireland Final. The buzz in the town, the banter, the colour, the sunshine, it all adds up to something very special and unique. I was going well in training and got the nod to start. At 34 and only with the panel for 12 weeks, that was a further boost to the confidence levels. I was nervous before the game of course…to be expected when you’re playing your age old rivals and without setting the world alight I did well.

Q: What was the buzz like afterwards, were there big celebrations that night?

A: A few pints as always but it was hectic. They opened the pubs at 11 that morning so by the time we got to town people were gone stone mad. We went to Darren O’Sullivans’s new pub Rosspoint the next day and that was great fun. I had a long drive to Belfast on the Tuesday which was tough.

Q: What took you up there?

A: I got the opportunity through a great charity called Sport Changes Life to play in the Duty Free Irish Pro-Am in Portstewart. They are the same charity along with the Rory foundation that are bringing the Naismith Hall of Fame Classic to Belfast and it will be the first official US College basketball tournament played outside of the US and I can’t wait to go to it. I actually met Rory up there and that was a good buzz. Nice fella, I had a chat with him and his dad and a picture taken. I told him that we (PST Sport) had just finished a new hockey pitch at his old school in Holywood.

I played with a South African pro, Dylan Frittelli. He was excellent and helped us around the course, giving us exact distance to the hole and he was good craic too. Also on our team was Shane O Hara, the pool trick shot champion who won his place on the team. Check out his shot on YouTube, it’s unreal! We came second so we were delighted and were pipped by Padraig Harrington in the end. I must say it was a quiet week on the work front, Friday wasn’t much fun trying to get back up to speed with things.

Q: Speaking of work, how did you come to work for PST Sport?

Kieran Donaghy - PST Sport Business Development Manager

A: I did an exercise for PST Sport a few years back as they were trying to innovate and come up with the best type of playing surface for artificial grass pitches. They set up 3 lanes outside their warehouse with the same carpet but using different shock pads and different infill levels. I did over 100 60m sprints on each track. One day running, with one day rest and I did the runs in a set time limit to ensure an accurate reading on how my legs felt the next day. At the end of the week I reported my findings on what I felt the best surface was. PST Sport were then able to combine my practical results with the laboratory tests they had carried out and come up with the best system in the market. Not long after that I did a motivational talk to their staff about team work and it was well received by the team. Shortly after that Colin the MD called me and offered me the role of Business Development Manager and I jumped at it. I could see from my talk and how well things were going that PST’s graph was on the rise.

The Irish rugby team trained on a PST Sport pitch at Mullingar Rugby Club during the Six Nations last year. The players gave the same feedback as I did on our surface so it gives us great confidence when selling the benefits of our system. Joe Schmidt even says it was like playing on the Twickenham surface – click here. We can’t get much better praise than that!

Q: Do you have interest in the Rugby, did you ever play?

A: I do, I love watching all the provinces in action especially Munster obviously. Thomond Park on a European Cup night is special. I love watching the game when it’s played at the highest level, especially the Ireland games…there’s always massive roaring at the TV.  I read a quote by Ronan O’Gara one time where he said if the GAA didn’t exist Ireland would be even better when it comes to Rugby. His point was that most young people and athletes are all stuck in the GAA from the start. He is not too far off with that statement as if we were all brought to the rugby pitch at the age of 4 we’d be like the All Blacks.

I played at full back for Tralee in one game, I went to watch my friends play and ended up out there on the pitch. The manager said stay back there inside that line (the 22) and if they kick it, you catch it and kick it out over the line. Simple auld game!

Q: Do you feel artificial grass pitches are beneficial to athletic performance in all field sports?

A: Artificial grass pitches used to be all about shock absorption but I feel energy restitution is more important to an athlete’s performance. This is all about how much energy the surface takes out of the athlete playing on it. It’s something that’s not discussed very often but ask any top level athlete and they will tell you how they feel playing on a good surface versus a bad one.

I use the analogy when trying to explain it – if you were at the beach for a run you can get varying types of energy restitution. Up in the dry soft sand it’s much harder to run as the sand is soft. You’ll be slower and it kills the legs, puts pressure on muscles, fatigue levels are high which increases the risk of injury. Down where the tide has gone out the sand can be firm so the energy restitution is much higher, maybe even too high. You feel okay but that can be hard on the lower back and calves.

That PST experiment that I mentioned earlier was all about finding that perfect middle ground. Trying to develop a surface that took the least amount of energy out of an athlete’s legs while having adequate shock absorption levels. The fact that I played a key role in developing our system makes me even more passionate about the difference we are making to clubs, schools and communities around Ireland and the UK.

Q: Do these pitches need much maintenance when they are installed?

A: You probably have heard people come off an artificial surface and say that their back is sore or that it’s rock hard. That’s just because the infill has been allowed to compact and become hard over time. They need decompaction once/twice a year and that’s not a big deal. Our team would carry out a full maintenance in a day. Proper maintenance ensures a safe and top class playing surface and will extend the lifespan of the pitch.

Q: What sports use an artificial surface the most and why?

A: Most field sports use artificial surfaces these days. Hockey is all artificial surface, water based and sand dressed. Soccer in Russia use a lot of artificial pitches due to their bad weather. Rugby and soccer in the UK and Ireland are both getting on board with having a facility that has perfect playing conditions and characteristics all year round. The GAA are the same and have really embraced artificial grass. We see everything from full size pitches like the 13000m pitch we installed at Le Chéile Secondary School in Tyrrrellstown to a small national school in Puckane, Co Tipperary.

What sport uses this type of surface the most? I think you have to look to the NFL (American Football) in the States as they are the market leaders when it comes to artificial pitches. This sport puts more pressure on bones, joints and ligaments than any other sport out there. The speed and sheer size of some of these guys is frightening. Out of the thirty-one teams nearly 75% of them use astroturf pitches in their stadiums and nearly 100% have an artificial pitch as the training facility. When I leap high for a ball, I like the fact of knowing when I land what my footing will be like. No divots, no holes, no soft or hard ground, just a surface you can trust, that’s important to all athletes at all levels. I think why so many of these stadiums have gone with artificial pitches is down to the fact they think it’s a safer playing surface all year round.

Q: Speaking of American sports will you be playing Lebron James and the rest of the USA Dream Team when you represent Ireland in 2018?

A: No, I highly doubt it unless they want to come on a team holiday to Ireland for a bit of team bonding and a few pints of Guinness. First, I must make the final 12 of the Irish squad for the European small nations. I’m looking forward to the battle and improving my game. By playing with the best players in Ireland I will only improve. The season ahead with the Tralee Warriors is big for me on a personal level and for the team. I was delighted to get the call from head coach Pete Strickland. He is a famous coach in America and a god in cork when he played with Neptune during the glory days of Irish basketball and I can’t wait to learn. I see myself coaching in both codes when I retire so I will be like a sponge around Pete and as the great BUFF Egan says “ill be soaking it in man”.

Q: Getting back to football the All Ireland Quarter Final against Galway on Sunday, are you looking forward to it?

A: I am and I can’t wait to get on the train Saturday morning with the team. I have played them twice in Championship football and both times it was a battle right to the very end. In 2008, we were going for the three in a row and it was an epic in the worst conditions I’ve ever seen in Croke Park. Jones Road outside the Hogan Stand flooded and they had to turn on the lights. In 2014, they also pushed us right to the end and we just about came out the right side. They have improved a lot since then and it should be a great game for the neutrals as both teams will go out to play football.

They have great forwards that have everything you need to cause teams trouble. We saw that the way they dismantled a well organised Donegal team last weekend. That game was 4-4 after 22 minutes, that was a real Donegal styled game, looking like a dog fight to the end. Galway went in at half time up by 11, that’s 3-5 in 13 minutes and that’s unbelievable scoring talent.

They have serious pace with Danny Cummins and Shane Walsh, power and aggression with Damien Comer at full forward and the kicking abilities of Michael Daly on the forty. The work rate and fitness got Johnny Heaney 2 goals and 2 points from wing forward. On top of that, they had the class and experience of Sean Armstrong and the great Michael Meehan. Kevin Walsh has them well organised and they play to a good structure and have the legs to counter attack. We will have to be at the top of our game to get the result we want in Kerry and that’s the way it should be when it comes to knock out football. I hope the Kerry fans come in big numbers. There are 3 Connaught teams up there so we need our supporters to make plenty of noise.

Q: It sounds like you’ll be busy in the coming weeks and months, what does the future hold for Kieran Donaghy?

A: I don’t like to look too far down the road as it can be quite daunting. I’m happy is one thing I can say; my family is healthy and that’s the main thing for me. Sport is going well, looking forward to the big game on Sunday. Basketball is in the preparation stage right now, trying to finalize sponsors, gear and players contracts. And finally, work is going well, we have a great crew in the office in Tralee. Our team on site work hard to produce world class sports facilities. Whether we are doing projects for high profile clubs like Chelsea FC and Aberdeen FC or a small mini pitch for a primary school somewhere in Ireland, we deliver a world class surface every time.

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Do Athletes Perform Better and Develop Faster on Artificial Grass?

artificial grass pitch

Do the playing surfaces that we train on week in, week out allow athletes to perform at their best, or do they hold us back from reaching our true athletic potential? There’s no doubt that this is a controversial question, but it is one that players, coaches, and sports lovers everywhere are interested in. If one surface was scientifically proven to be the best, everyone would abandon the alternative and install what is the undeniable best. Unfortunately, this may never be the case. The ongoing debate between artificial grass and natural grass is talked about around the world, with the differences in maintenance, costs, and safety widely discussed. However, the performance aspect of it is rarely questioned.

Some players will always prefer to play on a natural grass pitch over an astro turf surface. Some athletes have even described 3G artificial grass pitches as being hard on player’s legs or they could be tired after playing on a 3G pitch with shock pad. In a recent study PST Sport engaged Kieran Donaghy over several weeks to carry out practical tests on combinations of our carpet and different shock pads laid out in a warehouse with the view to establishing the best combination for Energy Restitution. Kieran then compared how he felt afterwards versus running on concrete, a soft GAA pitch, sand and basketball hard wood floors. Kieran’s findings combined with laboratory reports lead to the shock pad / carpet combination PST Sport now install across Ireland and the UK. We use a high density 10mm pad made from virgin foam thereby guaranteeing uniformity.

Train for longer, all year round

Artificial grass increases the number of times you can train, due to its long lasting and weather resistant nature, which suggests that a player is able to practice his/her skills comfortably, alleviating any worry about the condition of the pitch. If a player passes, bounces or rolls a ball on a well-maintained natural grass pitch, they would find no drastic difference had they done the same movements on an artificial grass pitch. However, a poorly kept natural grass pitch is definitely different from an artificial grass pitch and hinders athletic performance. Athletes can judge the bounce and movement patterns of the ball with ease on an artificial pitch. Bumps, mud, and water patches on a grass pitch negatively impact a player’s ability to judge the ball. These types of grass pitches will only hurt a player’s athletic progression, therefore, an artificial grass pitch is the right solution.

At the end of the day, artificial grass doesn’t hurt the game and it certainly doesn’t make the players worse. It can be very hard to maintain a natural grass pitch to the high standards we see on the television these days, therefore an astroturf pitch is a great option. Artificial grass is not a substitute for natural grass, it’s just the best alternative. Sports clubs, schools, and local authorities should consider an installing an artificial grass pitch.

Read about the financial benefits of installing an artificial grass pitch and learn more about the advantages of synthetic pitches on PST Sport’s website.

PST Sport’s completed & upcoming projects

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How an Artificial Grass Pitch Can Generate Income for Your Club

How Artificial Grass Pitches Can Generate Income for Your Club / PST Sport Artificial Pitches

Installing an artificial grass pitch for your club is not only a better way for your players to continuously train and maximise their potential, it’s also a better way for your club to see steady inflows of revenue. The upfront cost of installing an artificial grass surface may seem a bit high, but in the long run, it can save a lot of money in a number of ways:

Save money on maintenance costs

Artificial grass pitches don’t require a lot of maintenance. The days of watering and mowing the pitch will be long gone. No expensive fertilizers, lawn movers, weed killers, etc. On top of that, the long lasting nature of artificial grass saves money on replanting the natural grass. One hour long training session on natural grass could tear up the pitch so bad that it prevents other teams renting out that pitch for the rest of the week. In addition, matches being called off due to an unplayable surface is almost a weekly occurrence in the winter. Thousands of rural sports clubs all over Ireland & the UK would find it difficult to fund maintaining their natural grass pitches and overtime, sustaining a natural grass pitch can prove too costly for a club.

Increased revenue from renting your artificial grass pitch

Artificial grass pitches are perfect for clubs to rent out to other teams and the general public. The rise in popularity of small sided or 5-a-side football has seen an enormous increase in the demand for artificial grass pitches. A 5-a-side market enables players to keep playing the game they love. Yes, it may be a smaller field, but the spirit of the game remains untouched. The steady accumulation of a few euros or pounds here and there from potentially hundreds of players each week will reap the benefits later on.

PST Sport’s artificial grass pitches provide the perfect solution for clubs, schools, colleges and local authorities who are looking for a high-quality surface to play on all year round.

For a free consultation you can contact us here. Alternatively, LoCall 1890 253 313 or email info@PSTsport.com.

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Why Rugby Clubs Should Consider Artificial Grass Pitches

Artificial Grass Pitch at Mullingar RFC / PST Sport Artificial Grass Installation

There are hundreds of rugby clubs across Ireland, meaning there are hundreds of rugby pitches that need to be maintained. Most clubs would have some sort of an underage or youth set-up and a senior team. Monday through Friday these teams would train twice, if not three times, with a game at the weekend too. This means virtually every day during the rugby season these pitches are broken up, torn apart and essentially ruined in the ‘heat of battle’. On top of that, given Ireland’s unpredictable weather it’s no wonder a number of problems arise with natural grass pitches. The solution to these problems has to be artificial grass.

Artificial grass pitches have become extremely popular over the last number of years, and it’s no secret why. Throughout the world, schools, sports clubs and even local communities have all jumped at the idea of a playing surface that is available all year round, requires little maintenance, and isn’t a victim of bad weather. The developments in the science and technology behind artificial grass fields are improving so rapidly that any initial reservations about them are becoming a thing of the past.

Whether it’s a full 15v15 professional rugby match or a small sided kick around at a local school, the surface remains immaculate from start to finish with artificial grass. With the installation of artificial grass, the problem of mud patches would be eliminated, the drainage system would ensure no puddles, while the field would never again look cut-up.

The artificial grass/shock pad combination is ideal for rugby. Nobody should have to worry about the hardness of the surface anymore. Rugby shock pads add safety, increase the playability of the pitch and ensure that the artificial grass lasts longer. An additional shock absorbing layer works together with the infill to provide extra protection as well as natural cushioning. Every rugby club in Ireland should consider installing an artificial grass pitch, especially given the war-like nature of rugby and the constant collisions with the ground.

In 2015 PST Sport installed two artificial grass pitches at Mullingar RFC and in 2016 the Irish Rugby squad trained there prior to playing England at Twickenham. The pitch was highly praised by Joe Schmidt and the team. Several high profile Irish players said it was the best artificial grass pitch they had ever played on and that it was easier on the legs compared with other artificial grass surfaces.

Find out more about the PST Sport pitch installation project at Mullingar RFC and what the Irish Rugby team thought of the playing surface.

Artificial grass rugby pitches

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