Own goal for football club kicking off Iveagh Park Fest

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Own goal for football club kicking off Iveagh Park Fest thumbnailItís all go at Rathfriland FC as they prepare for three huge nights of cross community entertainment at the beginning of next month

RATHFRILAND Football Club is set to host the biggest social event in its 55-year history in two weeks' time.

Named Iveagh Park Fest, the three nights of entertainment to suit all tastes kick off on Thursday, 1st June with a concert by top gospel group, Live Issue, followed by a Lisa McHugh concert on the Friday night and a Strictly Come Dancing Rathfriland special on the Saturday night starring many twinkle-toed locals!

The festival is being organised to help the club in its goal to provide state-of-the-art facilities in the future, which will help nurture football talent of all ages and abilities.

Club community development officer, Paul Gibbons says Iveagh Park Fest has been nine months in the pipeline.

"The focus of the three nights of entertainment is to bring the local community together.

"The inspirational idea came one dark evening last September at a committee meeting. I had suggested that we bring some top artists to the area, which came about for a number of reasons .

"I had seen what our neighbouring clubs had done very successfully and another part of the reason was that Rathfriland Regeneration hosted the annual Fair Day. It was one of the few events that worked well in Rathfriland but as it has not been going over the past few years, I thought there was an opportunity to provide something for the town and surrounding area." When the idea of hosting Live Issue and Lisa McHugh was decided on, there was another night of entertainment proposed.

"The Supporters' Club wanted to help and work alongside us so they came up with the idea of Strictly Come Dancing.

"It is now getting to the stage where there are only a few weeks to go and there is a lot of anticipation and nervous excitement. We are looking forward to hosting an incident-free, safe and thoroughly enjoyable three nights, " said Paul.

The club is currently progressing with its plan for a 205-seat spectators' stand and hopes that work will commence before the 2017/18 season, thanks to a generous donation and the sale of 'Opening Night' stand seat tickets along with support from local council.

"One of the reasons for these events is that Rathfriland is a very inclusive and progressive club and, since the introduction of our youth policy under Lindsay and Karen Bronte, it has grown from strength to strength.

"We are hoping to enhance and improve our facilities and several high cost projects have been identified to improve the grounds and Rathfriland FC, in conjunction with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, has put in place a 10-year development plan.

"Through this event and similar events going forward, we plan to carry out a number of large scale projects as we currently have four senior teams and are getting close toward 200 young people in our youth section," said Pa u l .

"Rathfriland FC is no longer just a football club - we have introduced a fitness suite and have broadened our appeal to both males and females alike . " Paul says Live Issue and Lisa McHugh will cater for "everyone's tastes" and added that tickets are available in participating outlets in Rathfriland, Hilltown and Mayobridge, coupled with the availability of Lisa McHugh tickets online.

"Rathfriland FC has been surprised by the demand so we would ask you to secure your tickets at the earliest opportunity.

"There will be a courtesy bus provided by the club to ferry people to the facilities from the centre of the town .

"Many local businesses have supported us and helped us and the club have a small events committee set up, who carry out all their work voluntarily.

"To those people and indeed to all in the community who have supported us, I would like to pass on my thanks and indeed to all the individuals who have helped out in any way to bring this event to Rathfriland for the first time in its history," said Paul.

More information on the events can be found on the Iveagh Park Fest Facebook page.


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