By Oliver Hall
A former landscape gardener turned green entrepreneur is developing a growing business turning old tyres into hardy sports pitches.
Thanks to Conor O’Neill, thousands of tyres which could have been dumped or stockpiled are now being recycled to make some of Ireland’s top GAA pitches playable all year round.
The revolutionary new pitches are saving and generating thousands of euros for GAA clubs while also helping to keep star inter-county players injury free.
O’Neill, a 23-year-old entrepreneur, already counts some of the country’s top GAA clubs among his growing list of customers since launching Rubber Pitches Ireland.
The former landscape gardener said: “I spent six years researching the idea and travelled extensively throughout Europe to work out the best system for developing and maintaining a pitch.
“I discovered that tyres can be granulated to create a crumb rubber product which improves turf grass, making pitches more durable and even safer for athletes.
“These pitches can take serious wear and tear. They won’t freeze or water-log, making them playable all year round and they even improve the natural bounce of a ball.
“The rubber based foundation also acts as a shock absorber, reducing the impact on muscles and joints and inter-county managers and coaches have found that this helps to prevent players from picking up injuries or aggravating old injuries.”
The product has been tested and approved by The Sports Turf Research Institute, who are among the world’s leading independent consultants for turf grass research and agronomy, and the quality of the product has also led to Mr O’Neill’s business being credited with the Guaranteed Irish standard.