Creggs RFC purchased a 2.4m Major Swift to improve pitch maintenance and control costs, while advancing its ambitious development plans for community sport.
In the Connaught heartland where Gaelic sports dominate the scene, a thriving community rugby club is punching above its weight. Creggs Rugby Club has won multiple league and cup finals at both junior and senior levels. The women’s team has an impressive record where five Creggs ladies earned International caps. Connaught Rugby prop Denis Buckley started his career playing U8 with Creggs RFC. The values of respect, inclusivity and integrity are fuelling the club’s ambitious development with expanded facilities for girls and women only, 400 sqm gym and club room overlooking playing pitches. These initiatives earned it the 2022 Connaught Rugby Club of the Year.
Club of the Year takes control of mowing regime
“We have teams from U8 to U18 at every level so there are probably three to four games here every week,” Creggs RFC Treasurer Kieran Dowd begins. “Up to about three years ago we only had one pitch and we always had a problem keeping the grass cut. It was expensive and it was difficult to get somebody when you really wanted them when the weather was fine.”
Since adding two more pitches, it was critical for the club to have more control over the grass cutting regime and keeping the playing surfaces safe for its players. The club purchased a 2.4m Swift Roller mower to maintain its three sand-based grass pitches, which includes ‘The Green’, its main grass pitch.
Swift solution for small horsepower tractor
The Major Swift is gearbox driven, giving it the power and stamina to deliver a consistent cut in wet or dry conditions. Two blades per rotor, eight blades on four rotors for the 8ft model, and 60mm blade overlap combined with high blade tip speeds results in a cylinder mower finish.
“It gives a lovely even cut, it’s robust, it’s reliable,” enthuses Kieran. “It’s galvanised so there’s no rust; it’s made for West of Ireland conditions. We’re really pleased with the product!”
It’s easily driven, needing as little as 30 hp to power the single deck roller mower. “We have a little 50hp tractor here and it’s able to drive it. It only takes about 1 hour to do a full-size rugby pitch so in 3 hours all the cutting is done for the week.”
Full length roller eliminates scalping, rolls out divots
Full-width rollers follow ground contours and eliminates scalping. “The roller at the back of the Swift is great value to us because in rugby you’ll have some divots or some unevenness after tackles or scrums. The roller rolls out those inequalities and leaves a nice playing surface,” Kieran explains. “It also leaves a lovely pattern, a bit of what you’d see in the Aviva or Croke Park or any of the top stadiums.”
With about 600 members, it’s a busy club and safety is paramount. “It’s safe machine to use. It’s well skirted down the sides so if you come across stones or anything they don’t fly from it,” continues Kieran. “I think it’s a real asset in a sports amenity where you might often have people walking around or in close proximity when it’s working.”
Pride of place is important for Creggs. “We are proud of our facilities. It’s important how things look and how things are presented,” Kieran emphasises. “Here in Creggs it’s not just a rugby club, we’re open to other sports. There’s a great tradition of Gaelic football that goes back to the 1950s so we try to have our pitch at a standard that’s good enough for those sports.”
“This is the old village green,” Kieran points out, “so it’s very important to us that is looks really well. We feel the Major Swift plays a significant role in having the grass cut nice and evenly, and having the pitch looking its best on match day.”
This story appeared in Pitchcare on January 18th, 2023 here.