Marie Collins (right) pictured with staff members Olivia O'Brien, Kathleen Lawless
The facility was blessed by Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly this afternoon.
A magnificent new astro turf multi-purpose pitch and athletics track was officially opened this afternoon at the Presentation Secondary School, Thurles amid much fanfare and rejoicing at the realisation of a dream.
It has taken two years to raise the necessary funding - €350,000 - but the reality is that this has been a pipedream of members of the Presentation community for many many decades. And, thanks to the spearheading of the project by Principal Marie Collins and staff member Martin Hehir, the facility is now ready to be used by the very fortunate students in the school.
In attendance on the day were many past pupils, parents and invited guests - among them were Thurles sisters Niamh and Grainne O'Dwyer of basketball fame, who spoke with fondness of their time in the school and how their love of basketball and talents were developed by playing on the various teams.
Addressing the gathering and welcoming everyone to what turned out to be a showery afternoon - proceedings had to be adjourned to indoors midway through as a result of the heavy rain - Deputy Principal Patricia O'Callaghan described the day as being another very significant chapter in the story of the Presentation in Thurles. Principal Marie Collins thanked all those who had supported the project, drove on the work and ensured that no stone would be left unturned to bring to fruition a dream. She stressed the importance of physical activity and told the students to make the very most of the facilities now at their disposal.
Martin Hehir too was lavish in his praise for the support received from the community inn raising the funds for this project while pupil Elizabeth Finlay spoke on behalf of the all the students.
Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly blessed the facilities and wished the school continued success before Irish athletes Avril Deegan and Sarah Moloney ran the first laps on the new track.
It was indeed a special evening in Thurles and the facility will be available to the public to use. A wonderful addition to the town, it has been constructed on the site of the former grit hockey pitches.
See next weeks Tipperary Star for more.