Shiven Rovers, located in Newbridge, Galway, were named the Aviva FAI Club of the Year for 2016 in July at the FAI Festival of Football in Tipperary and become the first club from Galway, or from the Rosommon league, to win the prestigious title.
Former Ireland International, Keith Andrews, said; “To be down here in Shiven Rovers for Aviva and see the great work this club has done is fantastic and it’s no surprise that they are being highlighted as the Aviva Club of the Year. The level of facilities is top class and this has all been achieved by a consistent push on fundraising by a dedicated group of people who just want to see the club succeed. Without the voluntary hard work of these types of people all over the country, football in Ireland would not survive and it’s great to see them being celebrated today on what is a very proud day for the club.”
Shiven Rovers were nominated and shortlisted in the Club Facilities and Development category before securing the overall award following a presentation to the Club of the Year Judging Panel. The club has over 400 members and 19 teams competing, which has included the addition of a womens team and three underage girls teams in recent years.
The club has spent over €1million on their facilities since they were established in 1995. This has included in excess of €600,000 of Sports Capital Grants alongside over €483,000 being raised by the club itself. This has helped build 3 full size pitches, 1 floodlit astro turf pitch, 6 dressing rooms, a gym, physio room, function room and 4 car parking areas.
Mark Russell, Sponsorship Manager, Aviva Ireland, said; “Shiven Rovers are the perfect example of a club working together with their community to help benefit everyone. Their commitment to delivering excellent facilities for their players, members and the wider community is second to none and is exactly what the Aviva Club of the Year is all about. They have managed to balance success both on and off the pitch, which is the ideal model of a club. To be able to hold them up as the club for other clubs to follow is the aim of the award and Shiven Rovers are the blueprint for clubs across the country to follow.”
Noel Dervan, Shiven Rovers, said; “This is a reward for the hard work, long hours and community involvement over the last 20 years. It’s justification for the vision and foresight of a few, which has benefitted the many on the community. The award allows us to showcase our club and our facilities to a wider audience. It will encourage us to continue on our path and our 5 year plan has now become a 3 year plan because of this award. It will also hopefully attract more sponsors to the club and raise our profile and membership levels to continue the growth we have enabled here.”
The Aviva Showcase Day for Shiven Rovers, which was also attended by Minster for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Denis Naughten, T.D., saw Keith Andrews coaching several of the sides while also getting involved in judging some of the skills competitions with the younger teams. The day also included obstacle courses, face painting, bouncy castles, bubble soccer and a BBQ. Aviva also presented the club with €1,000 worth of Umbro training kit on the day along with facilitating the showcase for the club.
The Aviva FAI Club of the Year, which is free for all clubs to enter, has been running for 11 years and in this time has seen over €170,000 awarded to clubs to aid their development. Each of the 8 Finalists receive €1,500 for their club with the winning club receiving an additional €5,000 along with the prestigious title of the Aviva FAI Club of the Year.
Last year’s winners Achill Rovers from Mayo were nominated in the participation category but it was there overall work in the Achill community that saw them secure the award. They integrated every part of the island, young and old, into the club and even attracted Cameroon World Cup star Joseph Ndo as a coach to Achill Rovers, such was the draw of the spirit around the club.
Aviva FAI Club of the Year Winners
2015 / 2016 – Shiven Rovers (Galway)
2014 / 2015 – Achill Rovers (Mayo)
2013 / 2014 – Trim Celtic FC (Meath)
2012 / 2013 – Esker Celtic FC (Dublin)
2011 / 2012 – Midleton FC (Cork)
2010 / 2011 – Tramore FC (Waterford)
2009 / 2010 – Kingscourt Harps (Cavan)
2008 / 2009 – Dunboyne AFC (Meath)
2007 / 2008 – St. Joseph’s Boys AFC (Dublin)
2006 / 2007 – Manulla FC (Mayo)
2005 / 2006 – Mullingar Athletic FC (Westmeath)