Noel Connolly, groundsman at Terryland Park in Galway, has been named as the winner of the Eircom League Groundsman of the Year award for 2007.
The award, sponsored by Scotts, was recently presented to Noel at halftime in the FAI Ford Cup final. Terryland Park will also receive €1,000 worth of fertilizer from Scotts.
The award was given to Noel for his fantastic work in maintaining Terryland Park, which is owned by the Galway and District League and which hosts all Galway United home matches.
The winner of the Groundsman of the Year award was decided after the Eircom League of Ireland referee panel helped to shortlist the three best grounds in the Eircom League of Ireland.
The shortlist comprised Terryland Park (Galway United), United Park (Drogheda United) and Turner's Cross (Cork City). The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) then inspected each of the three grounds and awarded Terryland Park first prize, with United Park in second spot and Turner's Cross third.
Having worked on Terryland Park since 1995, Noel has ensured that the pitch quality is at a consistently high level.
As Noel Connolly explains: "I am delighted to receive the award. Terryland Park is used 12 months a year - for the Eircom League of Ireland in the summer and then junior football in the winter - so the pitch faces different challenges depending on the time of year. While it is obviously important to maintain a high-quality playing surface, the general presentation of the ground is also very important, especially with the increased television coverage this season."
And as a Scotts user, Noel attributes much of his success to the Scotts programme: "I've been using Scotts' products on the grounds for years and they've made a real difference, improving the surface and the grass quality. The support and backup is also excellent - the Scotts reps are always on the road and available to help. The products are great value for money and overall I'm very happy with Scotts."
Donal Kearney of the Institute of Groundsmanship congratulated Noel on the award and said that Terryland Park deserved to be singled out for praise: "When deciding on the winner we don't just look at the quality of the surface. Other factors, such as the input the groundsman has into maintaining the ground and the technical knowledge of the groundsman all come into play. We were very impressed with Noel and he is a worthy winner."
Coleman Warde of Scotts adds: "We are delighted to sponsor this award because we believe that it is important to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of groundsmen. It is a very challenging job and it is an area that is getting more professional every year. I congratulate Noel on his award."
Scotts Professional is based at Paper Mill Lane, Bramford, Ipswich IP8 4BZ. Telephone: 0871 220 5353, fax: 01473 830386, email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Photo caption: Pictured from left to right: Liam McMahon, NAD (National Agrochemical Distributors) Ltd, Fran Gavin, director, Eircom League of Ireland, Noel Connolly (winner), Terryland Park, Galway, Donal Kearney, development officer for IOG in Ireland and Colman Warde, Scotts area sales manager for Ireland, sponsors of the award.