THE name Strabane Athletic is primarily associated with soccer, but with ambitious plans in place to build a state-of-the-art sports facility, the club is developing other avenues for members of the community to participate.
The first new sport added to the Strabane Athletic banner is netball, with a senior ladies section starting to develop following initial discussions six months ago.
“In about October or November time I sat down with a few girls who I knew used to play netball and sold them the idea,” explained club founder, Seamus McElroy.
“We decided to give it a go and we did an information night around November time when people came down and registered an interest. We started in Riversdale on a Tuesday and Thursday for four weeks prior to Christmas – numbers were OK. So, when there seemed to be a lot of interest, we set up a Facebook page and once we launched that interest quadrupled.”
At their last training session, 26 ladies were in attendance, which participants are currently using as a social and keep fit point of view. However, that’s not the end, with the hope of developing a team that can compete at a high level.
On Tuesday the newly launched club had a visit from Netball Northern Ireland spokesperson Lisa Rickett, who gave the club some equipment.
“The idea is to have it from social/casual but also to compete on a national level,” Mr McElroy explained.
“We had Lisa Rickett down last week and she has invited us to one of their social hubs in Eglinton. Unfortunately from a competitive point of view there isn’t much in this area, so what she’s going to try to do is to link us up with Omagh and City of Derry and try to develop that area so we might have a couple of competitive teams in the area.”
The club is also hoping to introduce basketball, archery, martial arts, outdoor bowls and badminton, to name just five other sports Strabane Athletic hope to have on offer for the local community.
“We want to have a sport community hub,” Mr McElroy added. “We want to get others involved, have a proper AGM to get people into roles on the netball side and then I’ll move onto the next one!”
In the meantime, anyone interested in joining the netball team, getting fit and having some fun are asked to please come along to training every Tuesday and Friday from 7pm- 8pm in Riversdale Leisure Centre. Everyone is welcome.
• For more information contact their Facebook page Strabane.
Athletic Netball Club.